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Why is it only controversial to talk about certain ex-Steelers players?

It’s never okay to talk about former Steelers players. Players from other teams, on the other hand? Bring it on!

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

“Do we have to keep talking about that one player that left years ago and has been nothing but a jerk since?”

That’s what I get every time I write an article about such a player. It can be former Steelers receiver Antonio Brown; it can be former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell; it can be former...well, those are pretty much the only two former Steelers players that are taboo subjects to write about.

I’m sure there are more, but I just never truly know until someone informs me. This usually occurs after an article is written, edited and then published. After putting in all of that work (usually, about 22 minutes), I’m not about to press delete.

What’s wrong with an article or two about a former Steelers’ player, especially when that player makes news, like Bell did last week when he Tweeted about how he’d never play for Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid ever again?

Isn’t that worth talking about? After all, can you imagine if the Steelers had paid Bell the money he wanted or even the money they wanted? Both deals would have been disasters for Pittsburgh. Talk about dodging a bullet. It’s like when you break up with someone and kind of regret it, only to find out that your instincts were correct all along. Sure, it may have been a few years ago. True, you have moved on to other relationships (in the Steelers case, they drafted Najee Harris), but wouldn’t you want to talk about your ex with your friends?

Anyway, ex-players and lovers elicit emotions in us that can’t be duplicated in any other kinds of relationships. Therefore, it’s perfectly healthy to talk about them.

I wish Steelers fans felt the same way about every free agent or disgruntled player from another team. They certainly never have a problem talking about those people. “Would it make sense to sign Jameis Winston?” I’m still in therapy over the Steelers’ 2020 offseason. Heck, even when it involves players that have about as much chance of winding up in Pittsburgh as I do of marrying Rihanna—Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt are both great examples—we certainly never tire of talking about the possibilities.

Why is that? Why is it perfectly fine to talk about those players but not THOSE other players? Actually, I have noticed something. It’s kind of okay to talk about former Steelers’ players in the context of reacquiring their services. It’s never a problem talking about Bell under that scenario. Even Mr. #Jessecaughtit, himself, former Steelers tight end, Jesse James, is often brought up when talking about the team’s tight end depth.

Where is the line when talking about former Steelers players? Does it stop with Bell and Brown, or will other old stars, like Mean Joe Greene and Jack Lambert, soon be looped into that mix? After all, both are probably too old and injury-prone for the Steelers’ to even think about re-signing them for depth.

Can we just move on from them and focus on the players that are already here?