As much as I have been hoping and praying that Max Starks would be back in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform by week one of the 2012 season, it is seeming more and more unlikely to happen. Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Saturday that he talked to the Steelers unrestricted free agent on Friday and that Starks told him that he has not had contact with management or anybody like that thus far, and that he does not see himself as being part of the starting left tackle battle that now reportedly consist of Jonathan Scott, Trai Essex and rookie Mike Adams.
While Starks has said over the last few months that the recovery from his surgery to repair a torn ACL that suffered in the Steelers loss in the AFC Wild Card game against the Denver Broncos was going well, he admitted to Kaboly that he would be pushing it to be ready by the time training camp rolls around. His goal is to be ready by week one and he has a follow-up visit with his surgeon soon to see just how far along he actually is. Starks did tell Kaboly that he would definitely be interested should the Steelers call him at some point and has said as much ever since the offseason started and he was out from underneath the knife.
So much for my praying an hoping. I admit it was a bit of a long shot to happen by training camp, but with the improvements that have been made over the years in ACL reconstruction and recovery, it was worth the notion. As it looks right now it will be the rookie Adams or the over payed Scott that will likely start the season in Denver against the Broncos as I just can\’t see Essex, weight loss and all, being a realistic option. Second year tackle Marcus Gilbert seems destined to remain at right tackle now where he best fits alongside rookie David DeCastro. The thought of Scott starting at left tackle makes me want to puke, but when you look at the current roster there are no other realistic options.
I would much rather Adams start if Starks is not going to be in the Steelers plans and let the second round pick out of Ohio State get his baptism by fire. At least he figures to have Willie Colon to his right as he makes the offseason transition now from right tackle to left guard. It would be better than Adams starting beside the jettisoned Chris Kemoeatu in my opinion.
Kaboly confirmed on Friday that both DeCastro and Adams will not be allowed to attend the OTA sessions this summer because of those wacky graduation requirements that Stanford and Ohio State have, so you can likely look forward to the Steelers offensive line from left to right next week to be Scott, Colon, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster and Gilbert. Should that be the case it would likely cement for sure that Gilbert is staying put on the right side and that Scott will be around all summer long.
Now I hope and pray that Adams can become the left tackle that I think he can become only in a much shorter amount of time. Just in case I will continue to hope and pray that Starks recovery is complete by the time week two or three roll around. I will also hope and pray that Scott has mastered his ass blocking, just in case.