Not long after saying he loved playing for the Steelers, tight end Nick Vannett did a 180 the other day by saying his less-than-a-season stint with the black and gold wasn’t ‘the most pleasant’ experience he’s ever had as a player in the NFL.
Vannett, who is on his third squad after inking a two-year deal to play for the Broncos, said a bunch of other things about his time with both the Seahawks, who drafted him in the third round back in 2016, and the Steelers, who acquired him in a trade with Seattle last September.
In my opinion, none of it may have even resonated with anyone, save for the final quote about his time in Pittsburgh:
“I don’t know. I can’t say I have too many great things to say about that organization just from my time being there because it wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had. So I can’t really speak too much on them to be honest.”
You can take that quote several ways.
You can take it as he meant he wasn’t around long enough to get to know his coaches, his teammates or the offense. Maybe he meant it wasn’t the most pleasant experience because he came along after the loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and was there only while the offense was struggling to keep its head above water.
Maybe he, like most receivers, can’t really enjoy himself unless he’s the target of a lot of passes—Vannett was only targeted 17 times with the Steelers last year and caught just 13 passes.
Maybe he’s just a bad breaker-upper, like Elaine’s one boyfriend on Seinfeld, and now feels slighted after Pittsburgh moved on from him and signed tight Eric Ebron to a two-year deal.
Perhaps he feels that offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has a head that’s way too big for his body.
No matter what Vannett’s deal is, so—and I can’t emphasize this enough—what?
In other words, who cares? Big deal? He’s not worth the effort or the energy.
He’s Nick Vannett, not Marian Hossa. Furthermore, he’s not Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell. He’s just some dude that spent less than one regular season in Pittsburgh before moving on to another location. He’s like what’s his face, the running back who spent a season here and then resurfaced many, many, many years later to accuse Roethlisberger of fumbling on purpose in the waning moments of a Week 17 game against the Bengals back in 2014.
Believe it or not, not every NFL player that comes through town has a pleasant experience with the Steelers. If they did, nobody would ever want to leave, and they would all take hometown discounts to stay.
Guys like Vannett exist everywhere in the NFL, and I assume most of them are frustrated with whatever team they happen to be playing for at the moment. Why? Likely because they don’t feel like they’re being used properly or that their coaches are making them a top priority.
We’ve all been there at work.
Finally, my advice—and this is only my advice—would be to not let former players like Vannett live rent-free inside your head. Guys like that can’t afford it. That luxury suite is reserved for the Steelers we once loved before burning their bridges on the way out of town.
And Tom Brady.