Okay, so free agent acquisition Ladarius Green, the $20 million tight end, got on the field, finally, on Sunday, playing about a dozen snaps. He came out of the game with three catches for 30 yards in what was a largely unremarkable showing, but which is the starting point for the future.
He got his first game action in in nearly 11 months, but the question that follows is how does he feel? Considering how long it has taken him to get even this far, it would seem that the risk of a setback is relatively high.
According to Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times, the fifth-year tight end “reported no problems” with his surgically repaired ankle a day following the loss. So at least that means that he should be on track to continue to ramp up his playing time as he gets closer and closer to running at full capacity and in football shape.
It’s kind of funny how there have been so many people so quick to make judgements even about the type of person that he is, going so far as to say that he doesn’t really want to play the game. Yet he was the first person out on the field stretching during pre-game warmups. He has already missed eight games and I have no reason to assume that he isn’t eager to get back into the swing of things.
He told Bradford that “it was good to actually go out there and have passes come my way and get hit and be part of the team finally”, which is no doubt a very similar response for any player who is entering a new environment, and yet has been sidetracked due to circumstances beyond his control. You can bet that is how Senquez Golson is feeling.
Green also told Bradford that he wishes he could have gotten the two-point conversion attempt back, when he was targeted in the end zone on a passing play after the Steelers scored a touchdown on their opening drive following an early turnover.
While it would have been a difficult catch to make, especially given how long it has been since he had played a competitive snap, he said, “I was just more upset that I missed it”, adding that it “could have been a big play for us to go up eight. I didn’t make the play”.
That, to me, sounds like a player who is not only engaged but invested in the organization and teammates who have been engaged and invested in him, even though they have had to wait for months to even see him take a rep on the practice field for the first time.
Sunday was a new starting point for Green and the Steelers as a whole. What has already happened has already happened and cannot be undone. Where they go from here and what they accomplish is what is still at stake. And Green is looking to become a key part of their accomplishments.