It tends to be difficult to take much of a positive from an injury, but that is what second-year Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson has chosen to do as he returns from missing the entirety of his rookie season after undergoing shoulder surgery in August to repair a torn labrum. And he may actually have a point.
While he said last season upon entering training camp—during which he began on the Physically Unable to Perform list, of course, and was never removed—that he never had a significant injury before that kept him sidelined like it did last summer, he acknowledged recently that having issues with his shoulders is not new.
Ray Fittipaldo for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quotes Golson in an article published earlier today that he “always had shoulder issues a little bit”, though it never seemed to be a significant concern. A dual athlete through most of his youth and much of his collegiate career between baseball and football, he was never known to miss significant time.
Though he played in all 13 games his senior season at Ole Miss in 2014, Fittipaldo writes that “the shoulder became more problematic and persisted a year ago”, and adds that “the decision was made before training camp that season-ending surgery was the only option”.
What is interesting is the fact that through the persistence and acceleration of his shoulder issues, he may have finally given himself the opportunity to get a handle on it, and ultimately get past it. As I mentioned earlier, Golson was a dual athlete up until 2013, playing baseball in the spring and summer when he would normally have an offseason.
For a player who admits to having had “shoulder issues”, the opportunity to rest would seem rather important. He got the opportunity to rest last year, and the surgical procedure in conjunction with that down time may give him the chance to move past those issues that have “always” lingered.
Golson told Fittipaldo that last offseason was “different”, saying, “I never really sat out before. I never really had an offseason when I was playing both sports. It was a lot different, but it was helpful”. I believe the final word is the key word: helpful.
Golson may have finally given his body what it needs with the surgical intervention and rest, so from that angle, it may indeed be a good thing for it to have happened if it allows him to move past the lingering issue for good.
While he has been sidelined for the past two OTA sessions, and will be for perhaps a few more with an unrelated “soft tissue” injury, he should return for the final slate of OTAs and then for the team’s minicamp before breaking ahead of training camp.
In that time, he will continue to vie for a role in the team’s defense, having split time with the first-team defense in the slot and run as the second-team outside cornerback thus far. At some point, I expect that he may log some first-team outside snaps ahead of Ross Cockrell as the coaching staff continues to evaluate how best to formulate this secondary with so many untested chess pieces.