Steelers Have Lots Of Experience Playing Without Marcus Gilbert

It seems as though the Pittsburgh Steelers angered the football gods, who were displeased with the fact that they were able to get all 22 starters on the field for the first time in three and a half seasons after the bye week this year, because the fates have wreaked havoc upon them since then.

In that same game in which they started all 22 intended players on both sides of the ball, they saw both cornerback Joe Haden and safety Mike Mitchell go down with injuries. While Mitchell may be able to return this week after missing one game, Haden figures to miss at least a few more games, and perhaps more than that.

Yesterday’s news of a four-game suspension for right tackle Marcus Gilbert is hopefully the cherry on top of the misfortune sundae (to choose one of the less colorful word choices here), because if it isn’t, then that implies that there is more to come.

The right tackle’s suspension was due to a violation of the performance-enhancing substances policy, and for what it’s worth, he claims in a statement that he “inadvertently took a banned substance”. Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether or not he knew what he was doing when he did it, because the end result is the same.

This is just the latest blow for Gilbert, who has frequently found himself sidelined over the course of his career. But this will be the first time that he will have to actually watch his teammates from home, because this is his first suspension, and he will not have access to the team during that time.

It has been injuries that have kept him off the field throughout his career, going back to his rookie season. He suffered a shoulder injury during a week five game against the Titans, resulting in him missing the next game. In the penultimate game of the season, he was demoted from the starting lineup due to disciplinary reasons but had to play due to injury anyway.

He missed the majority of his second season after suffering a serious ankle injury that resulted in torn tendons during the fifth game of the season, the extent of his playing time that year. Mike Adams, and then after his injury, Kelvin Beachum had to finish the remaining 11 games, both of them rookies at the time.

While he played in and started all 16 games in 2013, he did so playing a long stretch of the year through another serious lower body injury. It was another ankle injury, if I recall correctly. At the time, there was a picture shared of his very swollen foot. His play suffered because of the injury.

After signing a new contract, he missed four games, first one game due to a concussion, and then due to another ankle injury, this suffered in practice, accounting for the other three games. The 2015 season was the only truly healthy year of his career.

Even last season, he missed three game after suffering a foot/ankle injury against the Chiefs in week four. He missed five starts and parts of two other games this season due to a recurring hamstring injury. With the suspension, he is guaranteed to see the field for less than half of the season.

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