Letter to Antwaan Randle-El

Hey El! Long time, man! We haven't seen you since we saw you and your former teammates exchange hugs and tears when we got our Super Bowl rings. Well, two pre-season games, but who cares about those?

I've been meaning to say something to you for a while now. We miss you, man! I even bought your jersey for my brother's birthday present back in 2002. We sympathize; as fans, we know how difficult it is for skill position players to get an extension from the Steelers. It's business, whaddya do?

You should know we will always have a soft spot for you. As a member of the Post-Steel Curtain Generation, like yourself, your pass to a wide open Hines Ward still serves as the greatest play we've ever seen.

Neither you nor I were alive for the Immaculate Reception. We didn't see the 1970s Steelers rack up four titles. We have one, though, and you were a much bigger part of it than stats may indicate.

While Seahawks fans are still crying conspiracy as they prepare for a top 10 draft pick, we simply point out the fact that we, as fans, saw the play coming a mile away. It was your third pass attempt that season, and the second in the playoffs. You could complete one of those each game for the rest of your career and none of them would be as memorable as that one.

Hearing the call in my head now..."Steelers at the Seahawks 43, Miller in motion to Roethlisberger's left, here's the snap, hand-off to Parker, Parker flips it to Randle-El! He's gonna...he's gonna pass! He's got Ward down field, TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN STEELERS!"

It still sends chills down my spin. Incidentally, I took the brim of a Steelers construction helmet to the bridge of my nose in celebration and nearly got trampled on the ground after I hit the deck. Memory's kind of hazy, to be honest.  

What I do remember is, on that day, you became the first receiver in history to cement his legacy as a passer. Yeah, your legacy is going to be a bit unorthodox; the wide receiver with mad passing skills. The best point guard in the NFL. Truly, one of the nicest, likeable guys a team is ever going to have.

I'm not surprised things are clicking for the Redskins. While, no offense, your hands don't resemble it, you are locker room glue. Teams win with guys like you on them. Tennessee's Chris Hope is no different; notice how well Tennessee is doing?

Both of you guys bailed after that remarkable game. No one can blame you, I mean, the amount of money they're paying you...I'd even play for the Bengals for that amount.

Maybe we took you for granted. This is the second consecutive game the Steelers will face their former split end. While Ike Taylor shut down Plaxico Burress in Week 8, my first thought isn't that we don't have Plax, it's that our starting split end was deactivated because he got busted with marijuana a few days before the game.

Ability-wise, you may not be Santonio Holmes, but we're never going to see your name on a police report. Again, locker room glue. Instant energy. Leadership. We're not blind, we see how those things are instrumental in building a championship team.

I think it's fair to say it worked out both good and bad for both sides. Regardless of where you are, though, I still smile when I see you smack the ball in your hands and hop around a few times after each kick return you thought you could have broken for a score. I still get a surge of excitement if your first move after the snap is not straight ahead. It sort of sucks this week, because you're going to see over-aggressive run-supporter Anthony Smith as the deep safety at some point. And just like the play caught Marcus Trufant and Jordan Babineaux napping, you're going to try to get Smith to do the same.

Your new team and your old team match up very well with each other. I wouldn't be surprised to see it come down to one play. You're on the wrong side of it this time, and even if you are the difference-maker, we may say we hate you, but we'll never hate the guy who provided the greatest play of our generation.

Best of luck, El, we're looking forward to your appearance in 2015-16 for the 10 Year Anniversary.

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