Updated: Jul 2, 2021
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Center/guard B.J. Finney had a tumultuous year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 protocols and ended up being released by the Seahawks and Bengals within a year before coming back and signing with the Steelers in March.
"With COVID everything kind of got shut down, and the gyms around me got shut down. I was in communications with Seattle, they couldn't get me out there, get my physical," Finney said. "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."
According to Jeremy Fowler and Brady Henderson of ESPN, Finney struggled to properly train last offseason in fear of losing a $2 million signing bonus from the Seahawks due to COVID-19 restrictions on physicals. Finney signed a two-year, $8 million deal with Seattle last March but never played an offensive down for the team, showing up to camp out of shape.
Finney spoke with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com back in April and he clarified that it wasn't just the fear of losing a $2 million signing bonus, it was actually the entire contract. If he showed up to camp hurt or if something was wrong, he would have been without any money, a job, and hurt.
Finney says he's in much better shape now that he's able to train at the Steelers facility and he's looking forward to competing for the starting center position with third-round pick Kendrick Green and J.C. Hassenauer.
"With (guard) David DeCastro really being the only returning starter everything's open, everybody's competing for a spot," Finney said. "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."