Growing up in the 1980s, it was rare to know about the retirement of your average, everyday-type Steelers players. You know the ones I’m talking about. Your role players. Your journeymen. Your guys who started for several seasons, even, but just didn’t have the careers worthy of a fitting send-off.
Yes, while the Mean Joe Greene’s and even the Rocky Bleier’s of the black and gold-clad world got their press conferences and “Goodbye!!!!” banners, those working stiff ballplayers were lucky to have their retirements mentioned on the nightly sportscast or in a little blurb in the morning paper.
I was a young boy in those days, and I don’t remember even questioning the sudden disappearances of these players from one year to the next—even those guys that started several seasons.
As I sit here today, in this modern era with technology at my finger tips (quite literally) that allows me to join in on his retirement party with this here Internet article, I’m happy to say the same can’t be said for linebacker Arthur Moats, who officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday.
Thanks to blogs and social media, many fans got to attend Moats’ virtual retirement party, thank him for his contributions to the NFL and wish him well in the next phase of his life’s journey.
Moats was more journeyman/role player than he was a full-time starter of several seasons. But at least he got to spend nine years playing football at the highest level after being selected in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Not many players of Moats’ draft pedigree can say the same thing. And while this has certainly been covered by quite a few people, Moats wasn’t a role player who did all that he could just to hang on to his NFL career. He was a community presence no matter where he went—including Buffalo and then Pittsburgh after signing with the Steelers as a free agent prior to the 2014 regular season.
That says something about Moats, that he took the time to take time for others. While all players are encouraged to do such things, we generally see the superstars really take the football and run with it.
As for those journeyman types? You might see them pop up once in a while at Children’s Hospital or at a food bank. Not Moats. He was about as visible as a player of his status has ever been in the short time that he was a Steeler.
No, Moats wasn’t a superstar, as evidenced by his 45 career starts and 16.5 sacks. But I’m not a superstar at anything, yet I get a bunch of “likes” whenever I post a picture of one of my 200 rec-league bowling scores on social media.
That’s the great thing about today. Even the average person gets to bask in the glory of his or her accomplishments. The same can be said for your average NFL player, only on a much grander scale.
Judging by his personality and charisma, Moats may yet find his true calling in the sports media world and become one of those guys more famous for that than his playing career (I certainly wouldn’t be surprised). But if he doesn’t, at least he got to play in the modern era of pro football, where even the journeymen and role players get cool retirement parties.