I’ve never personally met anyone who didn’t like Lawrence Timmons. Mike Tomlin’s first draft pick as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007 was a fan favorite for his low-key personality and hard-nosed playing style.
After the 2016 season, as a free agent, Timmons signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Dolphins last March, and the deal included $11 million in guaranteed money. After collecting 84 tackles in 14 games (all starts), it was Timmons’ off-field behavior which was more notable than anything he did on the field.
If you recall, Timmons left the team when Hurricane Irma forced the Dolphins and Buccaneers to have a Week 1 bye. Before their season opener against the Chargers, he left and never returned. He eventually turned up, but reportedly was in Pittsburgh. No one knows what truly happened, but the Dolphins suspended him one game for his actions.
Either way, the Dolphins are rumored to cut ties with the veteran linebacker, who’s now 32, and many want to know — should the Steelers sign him to a team-friendly deal as a stop-gap for the injured Ryan Shazier?
It’s certainly tempting, considering Timmons knows the defense like the back of his hand. But I do know having Vince Williams playing alongside a linebacker who resembles himself more than Shazier is not a good equation.
In my opinion, if the Steelers do bring Timmons back—and that’s not out of the realm of possibility if Miami does release him—he shouldn’t be considered as the Day 1 starter. In other words, the Steelers would still be wise to not only look for an inside linebacker in the 2018 NFL Draft, but also exhaust all of their other free-agent options before pulling the trigger on bringing back Timmons.
A lot of players have left the Steelers only to return. James Harrison after his stint in Cincinnati, Larry Foote and William Gay after their time in Arizona and most recently Sean Spence after spending time in Tennessee.
Not all homecomings work out the way fans hope, and if the Steelers are forced to rely on Timmons in 2018, my gut tells me you can expect a lot of the same type of defense you saw at the end of the 2017 season.