Watch Tower: Mixed Interpretations of Gary Russell’s Departure

It took two days, but both Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette weighed in on the Steelers surprising decision to cut Gary Russell.

  • Their interpretations are slightly different.

Scott Brown is taking Kevin Colbert at his word when he says that the Steelers cut Gary Russell was cut for salary cap reasons. He even goes as far as to quote Colbert’s remarks from the pre-draft press conference:

“There could be further deletions as we move forward, depending on how our cap situation evolves.”

In a separate piece, Brown shares in the speculation that Steel Curtain Rising voiced ealier this week, namely that if the Steelers are indeed so hard up for cap space that they had to cut Gary Russell, that they’ll need to make cuts to get their draft picks.

A Slightly Different from Ed Bouchette View, Sort Of

Ed Bouchette also seemed to back Colbert’s explanation. In addition to writing about it, he accepted no less than three questions about Gary Russell’s departure from the Steelers in his on-line chat.

Each time he reiterated Colbert’s point about cutting Russell for salary cap reasons.

But Steel Curtain Rising directly questioned him as to whether or not he bought Colbert’s rational. This was his response:

Davis can do more than Russell, and I sort of buy the cap room thing. I don’t believe that Gary did anything wrong, that’s what you mean.
[Emphasis added.]

Well, what does “sort of” mean? In responding to another question, Bouchette again stated that he didn’t think Russell had done anything to anger the Steelers. But the “sort of” comment does at least suggest that he smells a hint of something else to the story.

All well and good. But before we pat ourselves on the back too hard for Steel Curtain Rising’s ace media analysis skills, an honest reading of Kevin Colbert’s complete answer indicates that the move was salary cap related.

Loose Ends

Scott Brown reported an interesting fact about the salary cap. During the off season it is only the top 51 salaries that count against the cap. Never knew that before. Not a terribly useful piece of information, but interesting nonetheless.

Bouchette’s comments about Gary Russell’s departure were slightly dismissive, saying that Russell was not another Franco Harris nor another Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala.

No real argument there, but this was slightly surprising as Bouchette compared Russell to Barry Foster during 2007 training camp, and he sung Russell’s praises at various times during the 2008 off season.

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