Steelers: Were Signings to Distract From Roethlisberger Situation?

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2010

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 16:  Larry Foote #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers claps his hands during the game against the San Diego Chargers on November 16, 2008 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

On March 5, Steeler Nation was shocked at the second allegation of sexual assault by Ben Roethlisberger. Though not much information has come out as of yet, Steeler Nations have already taken sides in the "Innocent - Guilty" debate.

Up until this point, it was the typical Steelers offseason. The Steelers did not enter free agency to that point. Though they had re-signed NT, Casey Hampton, it appeared that Ryan Clark was no longer going to be wearing the Black and Gold.

On Monday, March 8, the Steelers started the strangest free agent week in the history of the franchise.

March 8 - The Steelers sign former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety, Will Allen. Most people in Steeler Nation believed that this was the pre-cursor to the departure of Ryan Clark.

Then they signed former San Francisco 49ers receiver, Arnaz Battle. Battle was thought to be joining the team as the fourth receiver, and to help on special teams.

As a card carrying member of Steelers Nation, I thought, even though these are a little early for our normal signings, but they are FAR from big signings.

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Things got even stranger the following day.

March 9 - Jonathan Scott signs with the Steelers. A cast off from the Buffalo Bills, and former player for new offensive line coach, Sean Kugler. I thought, potential? Or just a body for camp?

Their next move was to bring back two players that we thought would never be Steelers again.

Antwaan Randle El. After Super Bowl XL, Randle El left the Steelers as a free agent, to join the overspending Washington Redskins. Though El never played in Washington like he did in Pittsburgh, many of us in Steelers Nation missed El.

Every time I think of him, he was throwing the clinching TD pass to Hines Ward against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

In the unthinkable.

Ryan Clark, while in a meeting with the Miami Dolphins, decides to forget his trip, and his interview, and re-join the Steelers.

Rewind a year ago, and the debate was, who should we keep, Larry Foote or James Farrior? Turns out, Farrior actually DID lose a step, and the Steelers chose to keep the wrong guy to play next to Lawrence Timmons.

On March 15, the Steelers completed the craziest free agency week in Steelers history by correcting the mistake, and bringing Larry Foote back to the Steelers.

I know it was more than a week, but it was reported on Friday, 3/12 that Foote had left Arizona, and we had the weekend to bask in the glory that we were chosen by Foote to return instead of joining the Cardinals.

So, does the craziest week the Steelers ever had in free agency have anything to do with the accusations of Ben Roethlisberger? Were these players brought back because the Rooney family actually wanted them back? Or was it to keep Steeler Nation from beating down the doors with pitch forks and torches?