There hasn’t been a lot written or reported about Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green since he was placed on the team’s Reserve/PUP list a few weeks ago, but on Saturday, his former position coach with the San Diego Chargers had a few interesting things to say about him during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Pete Metzelaars, who was the Chargers tight ends coach in 2014 and 2015, talked about how Green suffered his ankle injury originally last season during the game against the Baltimore Ravens and how he thought the team was able to solve the headache issues he was having at the time as well.
“Ladarius actually got hurt in the [Baltimore] game and then struggled through for the next, I think, four or five weeks trying to play with a bad ankle which limited him a bunch and they finally ended up putting him on IR and then he had surgery on it, and he’s still trying to recover from the ankle,” Metzelaars said of Green, who the Steelers signed to a four-year, $20 million free agent contract in March. “He had some headache issues and some concussion issues but I thought at the time they finally did a scan of his sinuses and they were just all congested and stuff, and I had thought they had cleared those things out and that was kind of the cause of all of the headaches and stuff.
“And I’ve heard some different reports on whether he’s had headaches or knots, or whatever it is, and he’s still trying to get back from that ankle injury. But I think Ladarius is a tough, tough guy. I think he can play through a lot of stuff. I kept pushing him all the time and he was willing to do it and he didn’t say a word and just goes out and plays.”
It’s interesting that Metzelaars brings up the sinus problems that Green was experiencing with the Chargers as he had mentioned them during his introductory press conference after he had signed with the Steelers. Whether or not those sinus issues are what ultimately led to him not being ready for the start of the 2016 regular season is something only the Steelers really know for sure. However, there have been several reports that Green has had recurring headaches this past offseason that were mostly related to the three previous concussions that he had suffered dating back to the end of the 2014 regular season and that those, not his surgically repaired ankle, is what is preventing him from getting on the field.
Regardless of what Green’s current medical issue is, he won’t be eligible to play for the Steelers until after Week 6 of the regular season due to him being placed on PUP a few weeks ago. When and if Green is able to play for the Steelers at some point during the 2016 season, Metzelaars said Saturday that he expects him to compliment the team’s offense very nicely should that ultimately happen.
“He’s a play-maker, he’s a difference-maker, because he’s 6-6 and 250 and he runs a 4.4, 4.5 forty, and it’s just amazing,” said Metzelaars of Green. “He gets the ball in his hands on a little shallow cross and some DB or linebacker is drawing a line on him thinking they’re going to tackle him, and all of the sudden he’s just pulling away from the guys and they don’t touch him and they don’t catch him. With the weapons Pittsburgh has in their offense right now outside and stuff, and the running backs and everything that they’re doing, when he gets on the field, it’s going to be a huge bonus for their offense and explosive player for them.”