Justin Houston is wasting no time inserting himself into the venomous rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. The All-Pro pass rusher recently signed a one-year deal worth up to $4 million with the latter after parting ways with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, landing on the Ravens roster in training camp after wading through offers for several months. In the end, it wasn’t the biggest financial offering that tickled his fancy, because he’d probably be in Pittsburgh if that were the case.
Houston openly admits he nearly took his talents to the Steelers in 2021, but he simply couldn’t pass on the Ravens.
“I was so close to signing with the Steelers,” Houston said, via ESPN. “It just worked out better [in Baltimore].”
That’s sure to both ingratiate him quickly in Baltimore and make him an instant villain in Pittsburgh.
So what specifically did the Ravens do, say or show him that made him detour? Their defensive plan for him, which is apparently more attractive to him than what Mike Tomlin was ready to plug him into.
“I fell in love with it,” Houston said. “I kind of knew I wanted to be here when I saw that. … I think it was better fit for me in what I was looking for. I just want opportunities to have one-on-ones and be able to put pressure on the quarterback.”
The Steelers and Ravens won’t square off for the first time in 2021 until Week 13, but then again in short order when they circle back to lock horns in the regular season finale. Thanks to Houston throwing more fuel on the rivalry fire, those games are sure to be that much more entertaining, considering he chose to bully Ben Roethlisberger as opposed to trying to chase down Lamar Jackson. Not that this tidbit had anything to do with his decision, but if it did, you couldn’t really blame him.
And if things don’t work out in Baltimore, the Steelers might have another shot at signing Houston in 2022 — assuming they’d try to.