According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, Wille Colon has a chip on his shoulder; and its name is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
New Jets G Willie Colon on getting released by the Steelers: "I do have a big-ass chip on my shoulder." #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 19, 2013
Colon was released after the free-agency period began. He was scheduled for a base salary in 2013 of $5.5 million, which was deemed too high for a player who finished his last three consecutive seasons on injured reserve. However, unlike fellow cap casualty James Harrison, the team never asked Colon or his agent about renegotiating his deal into a paycut. The first time the team contacted Colon about his obese compensation, it was to notify him of his release.
The Steelers released him on a June 1st designation, meaning he is a free-agent now, but his cap savings will be applied on June 2nd. Even though the team is forced to carry his salary on the ledger for now, they will save approximately $5.5 million. This savings will most likely be used to sign the team's upcoming draft class.
With his new team, the New York Jets, Colon will be playing the same position he played last year for the Steelers - left guard. Colon spent the first three years of his career as a right tackle, before switching to guard after the team found itself heavy on tackles. His experiment was slowly rounding into success, when he absorbed a cheap shot during a game vs. the Baltimore Ravens which damaged his knee and ended his season.
The Jets two starting guards from 2012 are both free-agents this year, meaning Colon will most likely be an opening day starter. Replacing him in the Steelers lineup is recently re-signed Ramon Foster. While Colon admitted he held no hard feelings toward Foster or the Steelers, they would be the bellows to his passion furnace as he moved on.
Moving on is all Colon can do at this point. While his injuries in Pittsburgh were unrelated, they will be held against him his entire career. Even the Jets only signed him to a one year deal. He will have to prove to the NFL he is healthy and durable, once again.
"It’s been extremely challenging. It’s one of those things where every time I kind of felt like I got over the hump, there was always something else. I’m a fighter. Any time you fall off the horse, you get back on it and ride it. That’s my attitude with anything. It’s tough. It’s been a tough two years, I’m not going to lie, but I have a new home and I’m excited to be a Jet."
As Colon adapts to his new environment, the Steelers will be left to develop their young offensive line without Colon's veteran presence. With Foster holding down Colon's left guard spot and 2012 draft pick David DeCastro filling the right guard slot, the team's only depth falls on Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki and futures player Justin Cheadle.
While neither side will really hold a grudge toward the other party, at least Colon will be able to use it as motivation, as he carries this chip well into the season. Both teams play each other later in 2013, perhaps then he will get a chance to show his former employer how he really feels.