PITTSBURGH (WTAJ) — Filling a whole at inside linebacker was an unforeseen need for the Pittsburgh Steelers before camp, but now is among the top priorities.
Vince Williams was Pittsburgh’s second longest tenured defensive player, his retirement Tuesday came as a bit of a shock.
“All of us think we can play longer than we can,” said defensive coordinator Keith Butler. “I think Vince just realized at the time his body wasn’t ready to play, he wasn’t ready to play, so he decided to retire.”
Williams played in 121 regular-season games, and started in 69, most of which had come over the past four years. His departure leaves Pittsburgh without crucial experience but offers an opportunity for younger players.
Third year man out of Western Michigan, Robert Spillane, will likely get the first chance at the position, but former Penn State safety Marcus Allen could also be in play. Allen has played in 17 games in three seasons in the NFL, starting two in 2020. Pittsburgh converted him to a hybrid linebacker-safety role, and officially list Allen as a linebacker on the roster.
Last season he recorded 27 tackles.
“That position is determined so much by how they do in pads, what kind of personality they have with the pads on and stuff like that,” said Butler. “I’m a guy that likes to see people hit. If they’re not going to hit they’re going to play for someone else. That’s just me.”
Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.