Jesse James is ready for a fresh start with a new team.
While the tight end acknowledged he enjoyed his time playing for the Steelers, he admitted he was "glad to get away" from the drama. He added that the Antonio Brown trade “had to happen” because things were “out of control” by the end of the season.
The All-Pro wide receiver eventually got his wish and was dealt to the Raiders, while running back Le'Veon Bell signed with the Jets following his contract holdout, ending yet another saga that served as little more than a distraction for the Steelers.
The Lions were reported to have acquired James on Monday and announced the official signing Thursday. The deal is worth a reported $25 million over four years.
James expressed optimism about what he anticipates will be an expanded and more productive role in Detroit after spending his entire career in Pittsburgh, predominantly as a backup for Vance McDonald and now-retired Heath Miller.
"I think it could have been better," James said, via the Detroit News. "Offensively, I wasn’t used the way I feel I could be used here. I feel like my ceiling is much higher here than it was in the past."
James, 24, was selected by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. He has compiled 120 catches for 1,189 yards and nine touchdowns in his first four seasons and has never missed a game.