Archive

Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team

PTRSteelers20102114
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Steelers receiver Lance Moore catches a touchdown pass in front of the Texans' Jonathan Joseph and Andre Hal during the second quarter of their Oct. 20, 2014, game at Heinz Field.

Steelers wide receiver Lance Moore couldn’t fathom finishing his NFL career anywhere other than the “Big Easy.”

Yet he accepted the sometimes-cruel nature of a business that often embraces youth instead of experience. The New Orleans Saints tipped their hand early, suggesting they would take a wide receiver in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

Consequently, Moore was the odd man out. He was released in early March, four seasons after helping the Saints to a Super Bowl victory.

New Orleans opted to stick with Robert Meachem and Marques Colston. And they took Brandin Cooks off the draft board with the 20th overall pick.

“I wouldn’t say that there were hard feelings. I totally understand the business side,” Moore said. “Obviously, thinking selfishly, I would have liked to have ended a different way, but it can’t always work out the way that you want it to.

“Most guys in their careers at some point come to a situation where you get cut or have to take a pay cut or you get traded. I’ve been cut four times in my career, so it’s not like I feel like I’m invincible when I’m under contract.”

Moore, who signed a two-year, $3 million deal with the Steelers shortly after his release, gets a shot at his former team Sunday at Heinz Field.

Moore feels somewhat conflicted playing against a team he spent the first nine years of his career. The stakes are high, considering the 4-7 Saints are atop the NFC South, and the 7-4 Steelers are vying for the AFC North crown.

“It’s definitely going to be one of the more weird games that I’ve played in,” Moore said. “To be in New Orleans for nine years and then be on an opposing team, that will definitely be weird for me.

“The relationships (with Meachem and Colston) are the ones I’m going to carry with me even after I’m long gone from playing football. Those guys are more than just my teammates and colleagues, they are my good friends.”

Moore faced a different obstacle earlier this season. He was slowed some by injuries, but he couldn’t get on the field even after he healed.

He didn’t get his first reception with the Steelers until Week 5 at Jacksonville, where he visibly unloaded his frustrations. He spiked the ball to draw a delay-of-game penalty that drew the ire of coach Mike Tomlin.

So far, Moore has put up some unimpressive numbers: 11 receptions for 156 yards (14.2 avg.) and two touchdowns.

Yet Tomlin expressed only praise for the 10-year veteran.

“He’s the savvy veteran that we expected him to be,” Tomlin said. “He’s a low maintenance guy. He’s extremely professional. He’s smart. He comes with good ideas. He knows all of the positions. We’ve had to play him that way because he’s playing with young people.”

Moore said money wasn’t the only reason he decided to take the Steelers’ offer. He jumped on the first flight to Pittsburgh partly because he envisioned winning a second Super Bowl ring with a team in search of its seventh.

“The guys want to work toward a common goal, and that’s a being able to participate at a championship level,” Moore said. “We want to set ourselves up to get into the playoffs, and that’s where it starts.”

The Steelers, too, needed Moore. Receivers Jerricho Cotchery (Carolina) and Emmanuel Sanders (Denver) were no longer in their plans.

QB Ben Roethlisberger needed an experienced receiver opposite Antonio Brown.

“His football smarts were off the charts,” New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said. “He could do whatever you asked him to do”

Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.