PITTSBURGH — Trades in the NFL are becoming more common in recent years, but they are still a fairly rare way for a player to land on a new team.
Only a handful of the current Steelers have landed on the team due to a trade: safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, inside linebacker Joe Schobert and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon are among the exceptions.
Among players traded from one team to another, those trades happening between teams in the same division is even more rare.
Yet that’s the situation for Steelers defensive lineman Chris Wormley, who was traded to the Steelers from the Ravens in 2020. This is Wormley’s second season with Pittsburgh, but due to injuries to Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt, he’s taken a much larger role as a starter on the defensive line.
According to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, when a team trades a player within the division, it says they don’t think that player is good enough to make the team pay for making that move.
“I told Worm when he got here, I said, ‘Man, when a team trades you within the division, they’re telling you what they think of you,’” Tomlin said Sunday after the Steelers defeated the Ravens, 20-19.
Wormley was a key cog of the defense for the Steelers, recording a career-high 2.5 sacks and five tackles.
“I hope he always plays like that when he sees them.” Tomlin said.
Wormley admitted there was extra motivation in facing the team that traded him.
“I think that no matter what the week is and who we’re playing I want to be able to perform well, but it’s extra special to do it against the team who traded you away,” he said.
Wormley’s emergence could be key for the Steelers, who have struggled against the run this season while dealing with injuries to their defense. If Wormley can take the game he played against the Ravens and keep it going, it could go a long way toward fixing some of the problems with the Pittsburgh defense.