Pittsburgh Steelers release Greg Warren, also known as ‘Bear’
PITTSBURGH — Greg Warren was supposed to play this season.
It would’ve been his 13th — all with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But a prior injury put his after-football health at risk, he said in a team release. The long snapper decided it was time to stop being a Steeler. The Steelers agreed.
He was released on Thursday with a failed physical designation.
Warren came to Pittsburgh as an undrafted rookie free agent out of North Carolina in 2005, winning the starting job and a Super Bowl in his debut season. His 2008 and 2009 seasons were ended by knee injuries.
He got a ring for Super Bowl XLIII, but the first championship game he played in proved to be the last Warren would win.
“Greg has been a big part of our past success, and we would like to thank him for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best,” general manager Kevin Colbert said via team release.
Warren finished his career playing 196 competitive games for the Steelers, including 15 in the playoffs. Though he never was selected to the Pro Bowl he was one of the longest-tenured players in his position, and the league.
The prime of his career was highlighted by a close relationship with longtime Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham. They exchanged gifts, like a bear costume from Suisham to Warren, because he resembled a bear, Suisham said. And a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform for Suisham, from Warren, because Suisham is Canadian.
During stretching before the Steelers’ first practice following Suisham’s career-ending ACL tear in the 2015 Hall of Fame game, Warren, stone-faced, told Antonio Brown he needed a moment of silence for the kicker.
Late in his career Warren presided over what’s known as “Kicker’s Corner” in the Steelers’ locker. As the veteran in the area, duties included officiating a rock-paper-scissors playoff for a corner locker that Cameron Heyward won over Chris Boswell and privately deciding that Heyward would get the locker regardless.
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After Pittsburgh selected Louisville long-snapper Colin Holba in the sixth round of this year’s draft, Colbert said Holba was brought in as competition for Warren, though he also hesitated when asked about the veteran’s health.
When Holba was introduced, via conference call, moments after his selection, he already knew plenty about Warren.
Said Holba, then: “He’s one of the best in the biz.”