Now that the first six weeks of the regular season are over, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green is now eligible to start practicing with the team. Even so, head coach Mike Tomlin still hasn’t made a decision as to whether or not he’ll begin doing so this week.
“I haven’t met with our medical staff yet and made that determination whether he’ll be available to us this week,” Tomlin said during his Tuesday press conference. “I know he’s eligible for consideration at this point.”
Tomlin was later asked if he knows whether or not Green is at least fit enough to practice at this point.
“I hadn’t looked at those considerations, yet,” said Tomlin. “I’ve been talking about more pressing issues in terms of guys who are dealing with more current issues in terms of a health standpoint. I’m sure I’m going to have that meeting at some point this afternoon and look at his status and make a determination what we’re going to do with him from a practice standpoint.
“The position that he’s in, he’s now eligible to start the practice process and then we’re given a window to determine whether or not we utilize him, so those are the elements of the equation and elements of the discussion that I’ll have at some point this afternoon.”
Since being signed to a four-year, $20 million free agent contract this past March, Green has been sidelined while rehabbing his surgically repaired ankle. Additionally, there were several reports over the last few months that indicated he was also dealing with recurring headaches possible stemming from previous concussions he had incurred while with the San Diego Chargers.
“I had a problem jumping and getting spring in the ankle,” Green said Monday during his talk with the media. “It’s come a long way.”
Personally, I will be surprised if Green winds up playing Sunday against the New England Patriots and that’s even if he starts practicing this week. Once he does begin practicing, the Steelers will then have 21 days to decide whether or not to activate him to their 53-man roster or leave him on the Reserve/PUP list for the remainder of the season.
One would think that Green might need time to get himself back into football shape once he resumes practicing in addition to showing he has a solid grasp of the team’s playbook. With the bye week now right around the corner, perhaps Green can return for the Steelers Week 9 game against the Baltimore Ravens if not ready for this Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
We’ll likely know Wednesday whether or not he’s been given the go-ahead to start practicing.