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B.J. Finney had a hectic 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.
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 showed up to camp in Seattle above his normal playing weight of 315 pounds and he ended up being traded to Cincinnati as part of the Carlos Dunlap deal in October, and he didn't get playing time with the Bengals either.
Finney spoke with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com recently 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.
"Last March, I signed with Seattle," Finney said. "That was right as COVID was really kicking off in the country and Seattle was the hotbed in the country at that time. So I was unable to travel there to get my physical and train. Fast forward to July, I showed up to Seattle overweight and out of shape as expected, but I got to keep the contract so that was good. Things didn't really go well (and) I got traded to Cincinnati in October, but by that time and that point of the season they had their guys going forward in the season and bringing someone into the fold was really hard to do. We weren't surprised in early March when I got released."
Finney said it didn't take long for the Steelers to call him and offer a contract to return after he was released by Cincinnati.
"Once that happened, it was a couple of days and Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan and said they wanted to bring me back," Finney said. "I knew it was a great fit and a reset mode where we could know what to expect. Reset mode for me is just getting back to being in shape and ready to roll prior to 2020. Knowing this system that coach (Matt) Canada wants to bring in and blending with Ben (Roethlisberger) again, just being back in a room where I know the ins and outs, that's a reset."
Depending on what happens in the draft, Finney will be the starting center in 2021, and Tomlin has told Finney that he's in control of his future.
"They just painted it with a broad-brush stroke," Finney told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "Coach (Mike) Tomlin told me my fate is in my hands and we will see where it leads. We always have control over it. It's just a matter of opportunities rolling our way. It's nice to be in more control than I had prior to.
"If that is where they want me to play, at center, I will accept the challenge. That is a legacy that is hard to live up to in Pittsburgh with all of the great centers we have been fortunate to have as an organization. To throw my name into the ring, to have the opportunity to be one of those centers, is amazing in itself. It's not something to be taken lightly, and I am not. I want to do the best that I can, and the best I know how to do it is how I have been raised to do it. Coach T knows that and sees that, and we will see where it leads."