Moore not finished yet
Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014
By Chris Bradford
PITTSBURGH — Demand for 5-foot-9, 177-pound receivers usually isn’t great in the NFL.
At least not ones from a small MAC school like Toledo. Not ones who go undrafted or who had been cut three times before regularly cracking an NFL lineup.
Yet, eight years later, Lance Moore is still around. Through hard work in the weight room, class room and on the field, Moore turned himself into a commodity and in March, a member of the Steelers’ receiving corps.
“That’s one thing that’s enabled me to stay for so long, kind of having that chip on my shoulder, of feeling that I still haven’t really made it,” Moore said Wednesday after the Steelers’ fifth OTA on the South Side. “That’s what makes me compete with an edge every day.”
That edge is what attracted the Steelers to Moore, signing the former New Orleans Saints standout to a two-year free agent deal in March. For Moore, the chance to work with Ben Roethlisberger was just an opportunity too good to pass up.
“It’s exciting, you’ve got a guy that’s won two Super Bowls, been to another, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Moore said. “The one thing he knows how to do is throw the ball. It’s exciting to come here and be a receiver and get the opportunity to catch balls from him.”
For the previous eight years, Moore had been catching balls from another Super Bowl winning quarterback with Hall of Fame credentials. In 2009, Drew Brees helped lead Moore and New Orleans to its first Lombardi Trophy.
“Drew’s a guy who’s very cerebral on the field, can beat you with technique,” Moore said. “Ben’s a guy that has all kinds of crazy talent, crazy arm strength, can make every single throw. They’re both great.”
Yet after eight years and 101 games with the Saints, including 4,281 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns, Moore was a salary cap casualty after last season. Having been released before by the Browns and Saints, Moore understood a business decision. Saying goodbye to New Orleans was a little harder.
Moore had been a rookie on the 2005 team when Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped the city off the map and was on hand to witness New Orleans’ rebirth and the celebration that followed after the Saints’ Super Bowl win five years later.
“That whole region embraced us,” Moore said. “Us winning football games really helped bring them back a little bit when they were really, really down and not knowing what would happen.”
While he’ll almost always be remembered as a Saint, Moore says he has to put emotions aside and unlearn almost everything that he’s learned -- “trying to rebuild my brain around the system and understand the nuances and adjustments you have to make” – he said.
Having a strong resume to rely upon will help ease that transition, so too will Moore’s familiarity with the Steelers’ other quarterback. At Toledo, he roomed for three years with Bruce Gradkowski and the two have been friends for over a decade.
“It’s easy for me to go home and I’ll pull out my playbook and questions to him,” Moore said. “He’s a quarterback. He knows all the answers.”
Ostensibly, the Steelers signed Moore to replace Jerricho Cotchery. Not only did Cotchery provide Pittsburgh with a team-high 10 touchdowns last season but also his veteran experience. During OTAs, Moore has been mentoring Markus Wheaton, another undersized receiver. At age 30, he’ll turn 31 later this summer, Moore says he still has plenty of good football left in him.
“I’ve got a heckuva story,” Moore said. “But I still have some chapters to fill out.”