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Jesse James Signs with the Lions

March 12, 2019
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Jesse James Signs with the Lions

The possibility of returning to his childhood team wasn’t enough to keep Jesse James from signing with the Detroit Lions, according to multiple reports.

Speaking at the end of the 2018 campaign, James said his fanhood for the Steelers would be a factor in free agency, but only in context. General manager Kevin Colbert said at the NFL Combine the team would like to keep its own players, though he also noted it’s best to let free agents test the market and, if possible, return.

But according to NFL Network and ESPN, James is signing with the Detroit Lions.

James compared the Steelers to “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” when looking back on Pittsburgh’s 2018 season, complaining of players calling other players out and the team’s frequent presence on the ESPN ticker. “Oh, we messed it up bad. We lost a lot of games we should’ve won,” he said at the time. “I think there’s changes that’ll be made at some point this offseason. There’s things we got to account for and look at in a hard way.”

Twice the 2015 fifth-round pick saw the Steelers sign or trade for players were preferred ahead of him when healthy. Following the retirement of Heath Miller, Pittsburgh signed Ladarius Green in 2016. Before the 2017 season, with James set to be the primary tight end, the Steelers traded for Vance McDonald.

McDonald consistently played ahead of James, who finishes his four years with the Steelers with 1,189 yards and 120 catches for 9 touchdowns in 56 regular season games.

James, a Glasport native, made clear that his lifelong love of the Steelers would factor into his free agency. It couldn’t however, decide his future for him.

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