As it looks right now, the Pittsburgh Steelers intend on carrying injured rookie right guard David DeCastro on the 53 man roster to start the season. Of course this could change prior to Friday when the final roster decisions need to be made depending on what the doctors find during the knee surgery.
If indeed all goes as planned, DeCastro would be yet another player not ready to contribute when the season starts. Rashard Mendenhall and Stevenson Sylvester are surely not going to play in the opener at Denver. James Harrison and Jason Worilds remain on the PUP list, and of the two, you would figure that Harrison would at least be activated to the 53 man roster by Friday, while the status of Worilds remains a mystery. Even if both end up not starting the season on the PUP list, how ready are they for action being as they have missed the entire preseason and training camp?
Safety Ryan Clark will also sit out the game against Denver due to his sickle cell trait, so already the Steelers inactive list for the opener is pretty full when you figure that either Casey Hampton or rookie Alameda Ta\'amu will also be on the Denver inactive list.
The injury to DeCastro could very well end up costing 3rd string quarterback Charlie Batch his roster spot to start the season. It was believed that Batch would get some work this past Saturday in the game against the Buffalo Bills, but after DeCastro went down early in the game, those plans may have changed. The Steelers might not have wanted to risk Batch getting injured and wind up being forced to put him on injured reserve, which would have also meant having to guarantee his salary. Certainly something to ponder.
One thing to watch for Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers is whether or not Batch gets any playing time at all in the game. If he doesn\'t, it is a good sign that he will be released and that 4th string quarterback Jerrod Johnson will be signed to the practice squad. The Steelers would then only carry two quarterbacks on their initial 53 man roster and hope that Batch does not get offers from another team such as the Bills or the Arizona Cardinals. Having Johnson on the practice squad would be insurance against that happening.
Spots on the 53 man roster are more precious than ever thanks to all of the injuries and thin depth currently at the linebacker position. The injury to DeCastro couldn\'t have come at a worse time and very well could result in Batch being done in Pittsburgh for at least a little while and possibly even forever.