Former Steelers discuss regret in leaving in free agency

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Lee Flowers: “It was just different. I missed the camaraderie with the guys I pretty much grew up with. We had a stable team for those eight years – a lot of the guys I was drafted with left or retired when I did. It was like leaving your family and I was just a stepchild in Denver.

I’d tell all the guys if I could now that in free agency, if you are contemplating leaving, it’s not going to get any better than Pittsburgh.

Earl Holmes: “To this day, the best time I had was in Pittsburgh. I offered some advice to Joey Porter when he went to Miami. It’s a business. The contract thing – you don’t always have to go for it. At the same time, I know I called Cowher after I left and told him I made a mistake. He told me it’s not like this everywhere – that I should think before I left to play for Cleveland. I didn’t understand then.

Leon Searcy: “In hindsight I can say I wish I stayed – I had a great time in Jacksonville, but I loved playing for Pittsburgh and Bill Cowher.”

Eric Green: “I went through the same thing as Bell. I was young and immature – I felt the team didn’t give me the ball enough in the championship game. Cowher asked me the next day if I wanted to be a Steeler. I told him no, It was the dumbest mistake of my life, I didn’t think he wanted me. When he first met me he said I was one of his core guys – but he didn’t offer me a contract after that.”

Chris Hope: “I can honestly tell you. On that team with those guys, it was a brotherhood. We were unselfish – it was about winning. We had a genuine love for the game of football. I never had that to that level – not even with the guys I grew up with and played with in high school.”

Chad Brown: “Being a Steeler was special – I knew that even though I hadn’t played anywhere else. Every hotel we went to was crowded – there were crowds everywhere. You didn’t have that with other teams. Every team doesn’t have Super Bowl trophies you walk by every day … It was just shocking how different it was. Seattle fans would ask me if I was still playing – I just made the Pro Bowl that year! It was like playing in the Canadian League.

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