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The top six players who left the Steelers via free agency that had success elsewhere


(Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty Images)


For the most part, when players leave the Steelers via free agency it doesn't end up being a pleasant experience. Le'Veon Bell's tenure with the Jets is a prime example.


Bud Dupree (Titans), Mike Hilton (Bengals) and Matt Feiler (Chargers) have left the Steelers via free agency this offseason. Vince Williams and Steven Nelson were released to free up cap space as well and have not signed with new teams yet.


Time will tell how Dupree, Hilton and Feiler do with their respective teams, but no everyone falls off after leaving the Steelers like Bell and Mike Wallace.


Below are the top six players who were successful with other teams after leaving the Steelers via free agency.


Rod Woodson - Woodson is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is one of the greatest Steelers of all-time. Following the 1996 season, the Steelers and Woodson had a disagreement on a contract extension and Woodson ended up signing with the 49ers in July of 1997. Woodson only spent one season in San Francisco but ended up playing four seasons with the Ravens and winning a Super Bowl in 2000. Woodson also moved to free safety while in Baltimore and played two seasons in Oakland in 2002 and 2003 before retiring. Woodson had 20 interceptions with the Ravens and returned five for touchdowns. In 2002 with the Raiders, Woodson had eight interceptions which tied his career-high and made the Pro Bowl. Woodson made a total of four Pro Bowls after leaving the Steelers after the 1996 season.


Mike Vrabel - Vrabel was a third-round pick by the Steelers in 1997 out of Ohio State but never started during his tenure in Pittsburgh. Vrabel had seven sacks and three forced fumbles as a rotational player in his four years with the Steelers and signed with Bill Belichick and the Patriots after the 2000 season. Vrabel would go on to have a heck of a career in New England, winning three Super Bowls and producing 48 sacks.


Kevin Greene - Like Woodson, Greene is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Greene signed with the Steelers via free agency in 1993, but would only play in the Steel City for three years. They were a great three years for Greene though, as he compiled 35.5 sacks and he always said that he felt closest to the Steelers organization even though it was a short stay. Greene signed with the Panthers following the 1995 season and led the league in sacks with 14.5. Greene signed with the 49ers in 1997 and had 10.5 sacks before returning to Carolina and having 15 and 12 sacks in the 1998 and 1999 seasons before retiring.




Emmanuel Sanders - Sanders was a solid wide receiver in the four years that he was with the Steelers from 2010-2013, but he would really flourish in Denver with Peyton Manning. In his first season with the Broncos in 2014, Sanders had 101 receptions for 1,404 yards (13.9 average) and nine touchdowns. The following season, Sanders had over 1,000 receiving yards again and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos. After jumping around with a few teams over the last several years, Sanders recently signed a one-year deal with Buffalo.


Plaxico Burress - The Steelers were not going to overpay for Burress' services following the 2004 season and he ended up signing with the Giants. Burress had instant success in New York, recording 76 receptions for 1,214 yards (16.0 average) and seven touchdowns in 2005. Two years later, he caught the game-winning touchdown to beat the then-undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. In 2008, Burress got in some legal trouble and his career fanned out from that point.


Joey Porter - The Steelers released Porter as a cap casualty in 2007. Mike Tomlin replaced Bill Cowher as head coach and the team decided to go in a different direction in starting James Harrison at outside linebacker. Porter signed with the Dolphins in free agency and had just 5.5 sacks in 2007, but he would have a career-high 17.5 sacks in 2008 and was named to his fourth Pro Bowl, along with being named second-team All-Pro for the second time in his career. Porter signed with the Cardinals in 2010 and retired following the 2011 season.











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