2013 NFL Free Agency: wide receiver Steve Breaston needs a fresh start

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Wide receiver Steve Breaston was let go by the Kansas City Chiefs Tuesday, just two years into a free agent deal he signed to join his former Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley. It's easy to make a connection to the Steelers making a run at Breaston this free agency period, and maybe it's a good idea.

Former Cardinals and Chiefs receiver/return man - and Pittsburgh native - Steve Breaston had a rough 2012 season.

A favorite of former coach Todd Haley (now the Steelers offensive coordinator), Breaston found himself a healthy scratch at points during 2012 under Romeo Crennel, drawing the fair wonder of Chiefs fans as to why Breaston didn't play.

It led to this mini-squabble between the local media in Kansas City and Crennel, as documented by Arrowhead Pride.

To summarize it, Breaston was not playing despite having caught 61 passes the previous season. Crennel was asked why he wasn't playing. Crennel responded with what he would call later a "generic statement" regarding all players needing to understand the game plan and execute.

Crennel would admit to being "irked" over stories suggesting Breaston didn't know the game plan, despite having been the one to use those words in response to questions asked specifically about Breaston.

Not that it's worth drawing a connection, but Haley seemed to be going a tad bit cuckoo toward the end of his tenure in Kansas City, too.

For whatever reason, Breaston went from a receptions total in 2011 that would have put him within 10 of team leader Heath Miller in 2012. He wasn't injured, and for whatever reason, the Chiefs felt something called Jamar Newsome was a better receiving option for them.

Breaston was released by Kansas City Tuesday, and, according to Breaston's agent and brother, David Graves, there is "mutual interest" between multiple teams, including the Steelers, and Breaston.

There's a certain level of whimsy surrounding the idea of Breaston and Haley being reunited in their native lands, both working to show the Chiefs, one way or another, they were wrong about them. That gives us automatic warm-and-fuzzies thinking he could resurrect his career as a third receiver with the Steelers, and rack up another 50-plus catch, 700-plus yard season, maybe even some kick returns here and there.

Many will remember this one in 2007, it blew a tie game open and ended up becoming a signature win for the rising Cardinals.

That was a long time ago, however (and I'll point out Breaston was the guy who failed to take down James Harrison before the goal line in Super Bowl XLIII...just sayin'), and however hot Breaston's internal fire may be stoked, price is going to be the most compelling factor behind whether he returns to Pittsburgh to play for his childhood team.

On the other hand, the Steelers are on a path to have three veteran receivers - Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders - on its roster for the 2013 season. Another inexpensive veteran seems likely at least to compete against any rookie the team may draft in April.

Because of that, and Breaston's own words, his relationship with Haley shouldn't be discounted.

"I came here a couple years ago for Coach Haley because he's a familiar face and he brought me here but when I got here I developed a relationship with my teammates and I wanted to be here," Breaston said after his release in Kansas City. "I told coach (Crennel) that I want to be here and I just want to be given an opportunity to play. That's all. I don't know what that was about but I worked hard, I played hard for the coaches around the building and I did what I needed to do."

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Maybe Breaston just needs a chance on an even playing field.


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