Going into the 2021 offseason everyone knew the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to have a rough offseason. Although they did lose Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson the Steelers still managed to keep key players like Cam Sutton, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Tyson Alualu. So I would say the Steelers came out a lot better than they imagined going into the 2021 offseason.
The majority of the National Media felt JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyson Alualu were going to leave Pittsburgh during the 2021 offseason. Many felt JuJu Smith-Schuster would get a contract offer he could not refuse, but due to the market tanking JuJu was offered much less than everyone expected so he decided to stay loyal to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Alualu had a deal with the Jaguars to return back to his original team on a two-year deal. The problem is he was diagnosed with Covid-19 and he had to quarantine instead of flying to Jacksonville and signing his new contract. That allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers coaches and players to persuade him to stay in Pittsburgh.
Tyson Alualu on choosing Pittsburgh over Jacksonville: "It was stressful during that time because me and my family knew we wanted to stay here in Pittsburgh, but we weren't reaching an agreement," said Alualu. "Then I got COVID, and that gave me more time to think about wanting to stay in Pittsburgh. I talked to some of my teammates here and decided to switch over. It was nothing that Jacksonville did to change my mind. I am thankful and grateful that Jacksonville was a team that came after me heavy, but at the end of the day I'm just happy and grateful to be with the Pittsburgh Steelers and to try to chase a championship here."
The reason why Tyson Alualu wanted to stay in Pittsburgh the most is that he felt his teammates made him feel wanted. They wanted him back badly and convinced him that the Steelers needed him more than the Jaguars did. Ultimately there were a lot of emotions involved for Alualu in making his decision to sign a two-year deal with Pittsburgh.
Alualu on his decision: "I was supposed to fly out to Jacksonville the next day (and sign the contract), and then when I got tested I found out I had COVID. I didn't even know I had it," said Alualu. "But since I tested positive, I wasn't able to fly out to sign the contract. Throughout the whole process, even before I agreed to terms, my teammates and even Coach Dunbar were calling and checking on me, wanting to me to stay. My wife and I had a lot of conversations about what choice we wanted to make. Even after we agreed to terms in Jacksonville, after we talked about it and prayed about it, we felt (staying in Pittsburgh) was the best decision for our family."