On the same day Lynch was given his walking papers, Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert stated that linebacker Jason Gildon will be with the team in training camp.
Lynch, Sapp and Gildon all have something in common. They
were once productive players, but have outlived their usefulness,
at least at their current salaries or, in Sapp's case, the salary he
is trying to acquire as a free agent.
Football is not a sport played by old men, unless those old men
happen to be offensive linemen, quarterbacks or ageless
wonders like Rod Woodson or Jerry Rice.
But guys like Woodson and Rice are Hall of Fame players. Lynch
is a borderline Hall of Famer, while Sapp has a Hall of Fame
mouth. Gildon? He might earn mention in the Steelers Great Hall
at Heinz Field, but that's about it.
But there was Colbert Thursday, insisting Gildon would be with
the team when training camp begins, despite the fact Clark Haggans was signed for a starter's money and his agent was
told Haggans would battle Alonzo Jackson for Gildon's old
There were some within the Steelers organization who were
quite upset when it was reported a week before it happened that
tight end Mark Bruener and cornerback Dewayne Washington
were going to be released.
Some Steelers officials didn't feel those reports were being
respectful to the players.
But those same Steelers officials have to understand that
reporters have a job to do and that high-profile players being
released is big news, even if it was expected as was the case of
Bruener and Washington.
Gildon is due a salary of $3.65 million this season and his cap
value is nearly $5 million. Even if the Steelers wanted to re-work
his contract in the same manner they did with running back
Jerome Bettis, because of his remaining signing bonus, the
best they could do would be to get his cap value into the $2
million range. And considering Gildon won't be a starter, that's
too much money.
Add to that head coach Bill Cowher's dislike for having former
starters hanging around in the locker room when they are no
longer starters, and Colbert's statement has something of a
hollow ring to it.
Maybe Colbert wasn't stretching the truth. Maybe the team is so
unimpressed with Jackson, it's second-round pick of a year ago,
that it feels it has to bring Gildon back as a backup this season.
But I doubt it. Keeping Gildon around for another year just
doesn't make any sense. If Tampa Bay can cut bait with Lynch
and Sapp, two key members of a Super Bowl squad that helped
lift the Bucs out of NFL obscurity, the Steelers can certainly do
the same with Gildon.
The truth about Gildon
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