By: Zach Metkler, GZ Sports Report Writer
At the conclusion to the 2015 season, long-time tight end Heath Miller announced his retirement, ending an 11-year career as a fan-favorite. When that happened, the Steelers were left with a gaping hole at tight end, with 2nd-year man Jesse James as the only “experienced” player on the roster. And I used the term “experienced” extremely loosely. What would the Steelers do to replaced Heath?
The former Charger was a sneaky and solid signing by the Steelers during free agency. Standing 6’6″ and weighing in at 240 lbs., Green is more athletic than a large portion of receivers in today’s NFL. The Steelers signed Green to a 4-year, $20M contract with a $4.75M signing bonus that snagged them a player that made their already lethal offense downright deadly. However, after an offseason ankle surgery, Green began training camp on the PUP list. The team knew this would be the case entering the season so this came as a surprise to no one. The surgery was apparently a complicated one and the front office knew that it could potentially be a long-time until the athletic tight end made his debut on Sunday’s for the black & gold.
The real surprise came today with news about the true reason why Green is not yet playing.
According to sources close to the team, Green has missed time on the field not due to his ankle (which is supposedly “fine”) but because of recurring headaches. These headaches are due to Green’s concussion history, a history that includes a concussion in 2014 and then two concussions in September within an 11-day period. The source close to the team has also reported that Green has considered possible retirement if the health concerns don’t improve.
I know what you are all thinking: how could the Steelers have possibly even considered signing Green if they knew about his headaches during free agency?
The thing is, the Steelers potentially didn’t know of the headaches at the time of the signing. In the past, players have failed to disclose injuries when signed by a team, only to later miss time to said injury. Even with Green running sprints at practice, we are missing something. The Steelers are being extremely quiet about Green’s health situation and no real information has been released other than the tidbits of misleading information that Green’s agent has released about his ankle being “fine”.
Whatever truly is the problem with Green, the Steelers need to be properly equipped to handle the situation. If Green does in fact retire prematurely or the team decides to move on from him if the headaches don’t subside, there are means set in place that would prevent the Steelers from eating up his salary.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to this, but the early signs are definitely concerning.
The Steelers are extremely lacking in experience, even with decent camp performances by Jesse James and Xavier Grimble. Green adds another dimension to the Steelers offense that fans have yet to witness due to his health issues.
Time will tell when we get the chance to see him finally in action.
Stay tuned for further updates.