I posted on Tuesday about Max Starks and how his No.78 jersey may or may not have been issued thus far to the new Pittsburgh Steelers rookies. I have been passing along any and all updates on the free agent tackle as he looks to recover from a torn ACL he suffered in the AFC Wild Card game against the Denver Broncos, and last night he gave me an update on his status.
Two weeks ago Starks let us know that he was on pace to be ready by mid July and that he was ahead of his rehab protocol. He also maintained in that update that he has every intention of playing in 2012 as well. I asked Starks again Tuesday night how his rehab was coming along and let him know that I did not think that his number had been given away yet. He replied via Twitter, “doing great, thanks! The ACL is getting stronger and I\’m running now! Thanks for the update, it\’s not just any number! Lol”
@Steelersdepot doing great, thanks! The ACL is getting stronger and I\’m running now! Thanks for the update, it\’s not just any number! Lol
— Max Starks IV (@maxstarks78) May 1, 2012
Starks still has nearly three months to go before the Steelers report to training camp, so it does indeed seem that he could very well be an option for the Steelers to sign at the start of camp. He is an experienced veteran, and as I pointed out on Tuesday, they could place him on the ACTIVE/PUP list at the start of camp to give him a couple of more weeks to get that knee stronger. At the very least he would be in the house at that point and could be acclimated to the new offense of offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
The Steelers currently have just three true tackles with NFL game experience on their roster right now in the form of Willie Colon, Marcus Gilbert and Jonathan Scott. Gilbert is entering his second year now and Colon has missed all but one game in the last two seasons due to a torn Achilles and triceps. The Steelers did draft Ohio State tackle Mike Adams this past weekend in the second round, but he could take a while to groom to be NFL game ready. Trai Essex was brought back as well this offseason, but he is best suited as an interior swing man in my opinion and at best a right tackle temporary fill-in.
The Steelers really need to add another experienced swing tackle to the roster in my opinion, as I think Scott is just too shaky and expensive to boot. Starks could be that guy if recovered and I will continue to pass along the updates on him as we march towards the start of camp.