Then-Pittsburgh outside linebacker Jason Worilds rushes against Cleveland Browns tackle Mitchell Schwartz last October. (David Richard / Associated Press)
Former Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds is vague about why he stepped away from a likely huge payday
Jason Worilds was vague Tuesday when giving a reason for his decision to "step away from football" as a 27-year-old who presumably could have made a lot of cash on the free-agent market.
But the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Thursday that Steelers sources said their former linebacker left the game in order to work for his religion, the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The report also said Worilds informed the Steelers of his decision by phone Tuesday.
Worilds, who had 7.5 sacks while making $10 million in 2014, was considered one of the top outside linebackers available when free agency began Tuesday. That night he tweeted out a big announcement, but it had nothing to do with a new contract or a huge payday:
"I appreciate all of the interest from the organizations that have reached out to us the past few days. With that being said, after much thought & consideration I have chosen to step away from football as I have opted to pursue other interests.
"I am especially grateful of the opportunity to play before some of the greatest fans in football today. Despite any concern and speculation that may ensue, I appreciate those that are respectful of my decision."
Soon after, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora tweeted: "Worilds had undergone a spiritual awakening and his calling is now in that domain. Wish him all the best in his new pursuits."
But Worilds appeared to shoot that down by responding to La Canfora's post on Twitter: " 'A spiritual awakening'.. Really?.."
Worilds has yet to speak publicly about his decision. He told Trib Total Media on Wednesday, “I don't know when I'll speak on it or if I will.”