With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp for the 2015 season now in swing, it’s time to get down to the business of football. The time for “football in shorts” or “football-like” events is over as teams all around the league embark on their own personal journey for the upcoming season.
Although for just about every team the time leading up to the regular season and reflect a period of optimism, it’s also a period of great uncertainty, which means that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before we know who or what a team truly is. It’s a process that can last well into the regular season.
Although the Steelers’ recent acquisition of Brandon Boykin has significantly tempered the furor over his status, it’s clear that one of the primary questions still hovering over training camp is whether or not rookie second-round cornerback Senquez Golson will even be able to practice at any point this season.
As Golson recalls, he suffered some sort of shoulder injury possibly during OTAs or in minicamp, noting a looseness that suggests some type of joint issue. He told reporters that he finished out the sessions believing that he would have plenty of time before training camp to heal.
New to significant injuries, it seems to have caught the young man by surprise the extent to which his injury is lingering, and the trend seems to be leaning toward him having season-ending surgery to fix the issue, learn the playbook from front to back, and start over in 2016.
When asked what his options were, Golson said he is “either out for the year or I come back”, with the first option implying necessary surgery. He will have more doctor’s visits in the coming days, perhaps weeks, to determine whether or not that option is avoidable.
Should he manage to avoid surgery, then he will have the opportunity to heal without taking up a roster spot. Because he is on the Active PUP List, he is eligible to begin the regular season on the Reserve PUP List.
Should that be the route ultimately taken, he will be unable to participate for the first six weeks of the season. Following that time, a three-week window opens in which he must show that he can practice. If he manages to do so, a second three-week window will open that will determine whether or not he will be activated from the PUP List to the 53-man roster, which would necessitate a roster move.
As a second-round pick in a secondary full of questions, it’s likely that Golson stood a fair chance of being a contributor, perhaps even a marginally significant contributor, in his rookie season, particularly working in the slot in sub-packages.
With Boykin having brought in—in no small part due to the uncertainty with Golson’s situation—there is no pressing need to move him along. The Steelers still have their top three intact, with Boykin added on top of that, and rookie Doran Grant has showed some in practice as well.
We have seen in the past that depth can quickly become an illusion, however, and it goes without saying that non-surgical intervention would be the preferable option. Whether or not Golson will be guaranteed to miss his rookie season should be determined in the next week or two.