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B.J. Finney coming into training camp with a starter’s mentality

Even though the Steelers drafted a center, B.J. Finney isn’t about to just roll over and give up.

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Kendrick Green in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the fan base is hoping the young lineman will be able to pick up where Maurkice Pouncey left off when he announced his retirement, but he isn’t the only player vying for the job.

The void left by Pouncey could also be filled by B.J. Finney. After a failed stint with the Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals in 2020, Finney returned to the team who signed up as an undrafted free agent for a new shot. For a chance to be something he never was in his previous time with the Steelers, a full time starter.

“With (guard) David DeCastro really being the only returning starter everything’s open, everybody’s competing for a spot,” Finney told media via Zoom during this week’s Organized Team Activities (OTAs). “It doesn’t matter where it’s at on the board, it’s always up for grabs.

“I’m coming in with a vet presence and the experience that I have and I’m going to do my best to be a starter come Day One.”

Finney has the right attitude, but attitude doesn’t give a player a starting gig in the NFL. What many fans want to know is what happened to Finney once he left Pittsburgh as a free agent last offseason.

Finney explains how he turned a lucrative free agent contract into being a street free agent at season’s end.

“With COVID everything kind of got shut down, and the gyms around me got shut down,” he said. “I was in communications with Seattle, they couldn’t get me out there, get my physical. It was the one time I had finally seen some money and I wasn’t going to risk losing all of that money and that opportunity by training and getting hurt away from the (team) facility. What goes along with that is you show up to camp overweight and out of shape and I got beat out, there’s no way around it.

“When it comes to the mid-season trade, they needed a pass rusher and they needed to free some cap space and Cincinnati wanted offensive linemen so they traded me. Got there to Cincinnati, they got guys back that they liked, that they were comfortable with back from injury and they didn’t need me. So they just kind of put me on the shelf and at the end of the season I had a hernia, so I had to have that repaired. The rest is history, they released me in March and here I am.

“I’m getting better now. Now that I’m here training at the (Steelers’) facility my weight’s coming down, I’m feeling good, feeling like my old self and moving better.”

The training camp battle about to ensue between Finney and Green will be one of these most hyped and talked about this preseason, and while most are banking on the rookie, Finney is stating he isn’t ready to wave the white flag of surrender.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of OTAs, mandatory minicamp and Training Camp.