Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Zach Banner is currently scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent seven weeks from today. Ahead of that happening, however, Banner, who has nearly all his 2020 season wiped out by a serious knee injury, expects to resume running by then.
On Wednesday morning, Banner, who tore the ACL in his right knee in the second half of the Steelers 2020 regular season opener against the New York Giants, tweeted that he’ll start running again in a couple more weeks.
Banner had surgery to repair his torn ACL in the second half of September so that puts him roughly now four months removed from that. Generally, rehabs from torn ACLs can take anywhere from nine months to a year with NFL players. In short, there’s a very good chance that Banner will be cleared to resume practicing by the time training camps open later this summer.
With the start of free agency now just seven weeks away and with Banner’s knee rehab seemingly on schedule, it will be interesting to see if the USC product and former fourth-round selection of the Indianapolis Colts will be re-signed by the Steelers prior to March 17.
Last season, Banner, who had signed a one-year $1.75 million contract last March, beat out fellow tackle Chukwuma Okorafor during training camp for the right to start on the right side of the offensive line. One would think the Steelers would like Banner back on a similar deal this offseason and especially if the plan is to let starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva leave in March as an unrestricted free agent.
While seven weeks will likely pass quickly, at least the more immediate news on Banner and his long-term prognosis remains incredibly positive. In the meantime, here’s to hoping he and the Steelers can work out a new contract between now and March 17.