The Steelers went all in to try and win another Super Bowl and along the way injuries began to become an issue with the players that were being relied on the most, Troy, Harrison and Ben. Throw in Pouncey, DeCastro, Mendenhall, Colon, Adams and Gilbert and the the other teams drew a straight flush on the river to beat your 4 of a kind.
Now, with an 8-8 season in the rear view mirror the Steelers are in cap hell and getting out will not be easy. Harrison and Polamalu are not coming back at discounted rates, IMO, if cut (almost a certainty) they will either retire or sign a short term contract elsewhere, I just don't see either playing for the Steelers for peanuts just to be a Steeler, it would be nice, but unlikely.
I doubt that Ike and Lewis will be the starting corners, it is more likely that Taylor and Allen or Lewis and Allen will be the starters, but I don't see a stable of cornerbacks involving Taylor, Lewis and Allen being on the 2013 team.
Starks, Mendenhall and Wallace probably won't be wearing black and gold either, so our most consistent OL, best running back and best wide receiver will in all likelihood be departing as well.
Unless, some young guys (Worilds, Golden or journeyman Allen, Adams and/or Gilbert, DeCastro, Heyward, Hood) play to the potential that the Steelers saw when they drafted them look for another 8-8 season, IMO. Ben will be able to hold things together to a point, but winning more than 8 games without the young guys beginning to play above the line will make for a long year. The draft could bring a player or two that sees the field, but as we all know, it is rare that a rookie makes any kind of real impact.
All-in and outdrawn on the river, it happens, the odds were in the Steelers favor, its time to move on, I'm really going to miss some of these players, they visited the Super Bowl three times and brought home two Lombardis, it would have been nice for this season to play out better, but it didn't. Even if the year would have gone as hoped these players were going to have to be released, cut or take pay cuts anyhow.
Lets hope the young guys step up and start another generation of great Steeler football.