On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers will report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for the start of training camp and later that afternoon, most of the players are likely to be asked to participate in the team’s annual run test. After that concludes, head coach Mike Tomlin is expected to hold his first training camp press conference and at that time announce the list of players who will start off on PUP.
While the Steelers list of physically unable to perform players doesn’t figure to be very long this year, there will still likely be a few notable names on it and here is a look at the several potential candidates.
Le’Veon Bell (knee) – Bell is in the final stages of his recovery from a torn MCL and PCL that he suffered midway through the 2015 season. While he was able to do some limited work during the team’s offseason practices, it’s doubtful that he’ll be allowed to practice fully with the team at Latrobe for the entire time they are there. Being as Bell now has a four-game suspension looming, we might not see him removed from the team’s Active PUP list until just ahead of the start of the regular season.
Ladarius Green (ankle) – Green has quite a bit of catching up to do during training camp as the Steelers new tight end was unable to participate at all during the team’s offseason practices due to him having his ankle surgically repaired after the 2015 season ended. While the hope is that he’ll be ready to fully participate right away when the team hits the practice fields for the first time on Friday, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be ready and thus could start off his first week at Latrobe on Active PUP.
Travis Feeney (hernia) – Feeney, who was drafted in the sixth-round this year out of Washington, missed some practice time during the offseason after needing a sports hernia repaired after taking part in the NFL combine. I have no idea if he’ll be ready tio practice fully come the end of the week, but it’s worth putting his name on this list just so that you are not surprised if he’s ultimately placed on Active PUP.
Senquez Golson (soft tissue) – Even though he was able to finally practice some during the offseason, and by all accounts should be ready for the start of training camp, the fact that Golson battled a soft tissue injury few months ago that reportedly needed an MRI is all I need to warrant placing him on this list. Hopefully, the Steelers former second round draft pick can finally take part in his first training camp practice on Friday after missing all of his rookie season due to a shoulder injury.
Mike Mitchell (shoulder) – While most seem to be optimistic that Mitchell will be good to go at the start of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, the Steelers could take the precautionary route with him just the same. He was reportedly able to practice fully late during the team’s offseason practices so that’s definitely a great sign. We’ll see what Tomlin and the team doctors ultimately decided later this week.
Bud Dupree (soft tissue) – After dealing with a minor soft tissue injury during the offseason that cost him several practices, it’s hard to know for sure whether or not Dupree will be ready to practice fully upon arriving for the start of training camp. Odds are probably good that he will be as he’s had several weeks to rest since the team wrapped up their mandatory minicamp.
Markus Wheaton (soft tissue) – Wheaton, like Dupree, missed some practice time late in the offseason and many believe it was also soft tissue related. While I am willing to bet that Wheaton and Dupree are both ready for the start of training camp, just consider this a precautionary look ahead as to why both could potentially start Latrobe off on PUP.
James Harrison (birth certificate) – While Harrison is very unlikely to start off training camp on the PUP list, I wouldn’t put it past Tomlin to do it in an effort to protect the veteran from himself. Harrison really wasn’t allowed to do much of anything during the team’s offseason practices and that wasn’t overly surprising.
Last year when the Steelers reported to Latrobe for training camp, five players were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Those five were Golson (shoulder), quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder), tackle Mike Adams (back), linebacker Shawn Lemon (Achilles), and center Maurkice Pouncey (foot).