Earlier this afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers announced what many of us figured was coming as the days neared to the season opener. Ladarius Green will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform, or PUP list. This means Green will be unable to play in at least the first six games of the 2016 season.
With the great Heath Miller off to retirement, the Steelers went out and made Green the prize of their free agent signings but he’s proven so far to be a complete waste of money. Since having surgery on his ankle back in the spring, Green has not participated in a single OTA, Training Camp or preseason practice.
What this means is that the Steelers will enter the season (as of right now anyway) with Jesse James as the starter and likely David Johnson as his back up. Whether Xavier Grimble is the third tight end or not is uncertain but it appears likely at least for the first six games. This my Steelers’ friends is not a very good group of tight ends. I hate to be so honest but it’s true.
Is a free agent pickup likely? I think it’s possible and the Steelers will certainly watch the cuts around the league but there’s no guarantee. I do not think you’ll see a trade for a tight end but stranger things have happened.
Green, who signed a four-year contract worth $20 million, was supposed to be another weapon in Ben Roethlisberger’s arsenal and one he’s really never had before. While not the blocker Miller was, Green has exceptional speed and great athleticism at the tight end position. His absence takes away that deep threat and potential red zone target too.
There is blame to go around here but it isn’t easy to nail down just where it goes. If you want to start with General Manager Kevin Colbert, that’s fair. He’s the guy in charge so some of the blame has to fall on him. From there it goes to the medical staff (of both the Steelers and Chargers perhaps) and of course on Green himself.
We’ve been led to believe his inactivity this spring and summer was due 100% to his ankle but then the issue of headaches was made public. I was initially told these were the result of concussions suffered last season, but then the idea that sinus issues was brought to the table as well.
Whatever the reason, Green isn’t going to suit up for the foreseeable future. Keep in mind there’s no real timetable for his return once the six games are played and remember this too; he hasn’t practiced at all with this offense. Any thoughts that he’ll just step on the field and excel should be tempered a bit.
This entire thing reminds me of being a kid at Christmas. You’ve been spying that one present all morning and when you finally get a chance to open it you discover… It doesn’t work.