The Steelers looked for a cornerback on draft day and found one, not in the draft, but thanks to a trade for a familiar face.
The team acquired Bryant McFadden in a trade from the Arizona Cardinals. McFadden left the Steelers via free agency after the 2008 season, but after one year in Arizona is back in the black and gold.
The Steelers gave up a fifth round pick to the Cardinals, the 155th pick overall that the originally acquired in a trade with the New York Jets for Santonio Holmes. The Steelers also received a sixth-round pick from the Cardinals (195th overall).
McFadden agreed to a three-year deal with the Steelers. He had only one year remaining on his contract with the Cardinals.
Bryant McFadden Conference Call
How does it feel to be back?
Honestly, it's a shocking feeling, just the way the situation occurred. But I'm excited. This is where I started. I have years there. I had success. I'm just ready to contribute and get things rolling to how it used to be.
What was the shocking part for you?
It was kind of unexpected. I got a couple of phone calls yesterday, but it wasn't anything definite. It was just a couple of talks. And that's when my eyes kind of got open to the situation after that. My agent called me – he was texting me today – giving me the situation about, that if nothing drastic happens throughout the course of the draft. Neither team selected a corner. So with that being said, I thought that maybe nothing was going to transpire. Then, he hit me with a "it looks like you might be going back to where you started." It was kind of like "wow," a situation of transition and moving, and family getting settled, and now you have to up and move. The best part about it, like it was when I went to Arizona, is that I know a lot of the guys that still are there from when I was there. So relationships are still open.
Did you feel hurt, as though they gave up on you after just one year?
It wasn't that I was feeling hurt, and it wasn't a feeling that they were giving up on me. You know how this league goes. In certain situations, you know dealing with the business side of the game always comes in affect with decisions and decision making dealing with certain players. The business side is something the kind of broadened my feelings on the whole situation. It wasn't a feeling of, "okay, we don't believe in him and we don't think he's the type of guy that he's shown to be." It was just more of the numbers situation, the financial part. And that's always a part of this business. It opened my eyes a lot, understanding that you never know, but just the nature of the business sometimes, it wasn't expected in certain situations.
So you knew yesterday that coming to the Steelers was a possibility?
Yes. I had a couple of preliminary calls yesterday. And through the course of that, a couple people have called me on both ends. I didn't say anything about it because it was nothing that was set in stone. Everything was just a couple of talks. But everything was kind of brought to light earlier today.
You have a year left on your contract. Are they working on an extension at all?
I believe yes. The Steelers and my agent are in the process of getting numbers and years situated.
Are you just that much more comfortable with this system than you were out there?
Being in the system for four years, the same system for four years, of course the comfort level is going to be there for me. I was so accustomed to doing things a certain way, learning things a certain way, speak the terminology a certain way. So coming over to a new program and a new coordinator, it kind of hindered me at times because I always went back to the way that I was used to doing things before. So at certain times, that hindered me a little bit because I was so adjusted and accustomed to playing a certain way and a certain style.
Do you think those playoff games kind of hurt your career in Arizona or maybe after those two games?
The crazy part about it is in my situation, those two games, it doesn't dictate how I played through the whole course of the year. And that Green Bay game, I sustained a serious injury to my sternum and ended up continuing to play and strain my CT joint, and also played in the New Orleans game and had to get a couple of shots of cortisone to play, took a shot in the chest, and did all that just to play in the playoff game. Then I didn't perform the way I'm accustomed to performing, and everybody was kind of down and I was down. I was trying to be a competitor and compete, and playing in that type of condition I was in, wasn't healthy at all, physically or mentally. Thinking back on it, when I told coach Whisenhunt when we were talking, I was trying to be a competitor and trying to be a reliable guy and fight and fighting for the type energy during the injury and play was hurting me. It is what it is. In this game you have to play with injuries and you have to fight through it, and I was trying to do that but it was like trying to ride a bike with a broken foot. You're not going to ride it if you're not 100 percent healthy, it is what it is. You know how I feel, it's part of the business, and you have to grow and mature from, and that's what I'm trying to do. But, if I had to do it all over it again, I might have just sat down and tried to get myself 100 percent healthy before I go out there because I kind of got the heat for trying to be a dependable guy.
Just to clarify, what was the second injury in the New Orleans game?
No I sustained both in the Green Bay game. A bruised sternum and CT joint in my shoulder that I sustained in the Green Bay game, and the next week we just had to get ready to go. So I took a couple of shots to get ready, but it is what it is.
I guess you know the Steelers need help in the secondary after last year, do you expect to start? Do you expect to battle for a starting job?
No, I expect to come in there and do what I have to do. When I was there I was playing quality football. Coming in there with a lot of energy and being physical and being consistent. I think I'm looking forward to and looking forward to go out and do. I haven't really talked about anything of that nature, but whatever the situation is I'm coming to help and be consistent with the Steelers defensive back.
You know you're not the only one coming back?
No, I think we're having a reunion. I thought the reunion happened 20 years down the line, but I guess we'll start a little earlier.
Have you heard from any of your teammates?
You know, what's funny is that I have a couple of teammates down here with me. Today I had a youth football camp at my high school of South Florida. I got a couple of the guys here I still have a relationship with from Pittsburgh, and they were here. You know Keyaron Fox, Ike Taylor, William Gay, Charlie Batch, those guys. So they were with me, when I kind of received the news, they received the news. It was crazy because my phone was blowing up with texts from everyone saying, "welcome back home," "glad you're back," "happy to have you back, you should have never left." Different things of that nature, so it kind of made me feel a little at home.
Can you compare the two different defensive systems that you've played under in Pittsburgh and Arizona?
It's a lot different. It's a lot different. When you are dealing with outstanding defensive coordinators in the league – guys like Coach [Dick] LeBeau, the Rex Ryan's and guys like that – the numbers always speak for themselves. They always have a sense, and with that sense putting their players in a position to be successful. And that always comes about. So it was a big difference. Coach LeBeau is a veteran guy who has done a lot in this league. And that's one guy that I wouldn't mind playing for and giving my all for. Not to take anything away from the coordinators out there in Arizona, but it's different. It's a big difference. It's like comparing Michael Jordan to Scottie Pippen or something like that. One guy is the top head, and that's how I feel about Coach LeBeau and what he brings to the table.