My podcast co-host David Todd talked to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler on Wednesday for ESPN 970 Radio and late in the interview he asked Butler if he had any update on when he thought outside linebackers James Harrison and Jason Worilds would be back.
“I\’m hoping in a couple of weeks, but I don\’t know,” said Butler.
David asked if that timetable was for both of them. “At least James Harrison,” Butler replied. “We\’ll see with Jason Worilds. He still has a wrist injury that takes some time to heal. He is progressing and hopefully he\’ll progress enough where we can get him back a week or two before the season starts.”
When asked if Worilds being fit will help upon his return, Butler shot back, “Everybody can be fit, but if you don\’t know what to do, you\’re not going to help your team.”
As you can see by the comments made by Butler, he is not sure exactly when he will have either of the two players back, but it figures to be at least two weeks for Harrison and Worilds might not even be ready by the start of the season. That means that there could be a possibility that Worilds begins the regular season on the Reserve PUP list, meaning he would miss the first six weeks automatically.
According to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Butler said that Harrison can\’t afford to wait until the season opener in Denver for his first action. “He needs reps, and he knows he needs reps.” Butler told Kaboly. “He is going to have to come up before the first game.” Butler added that he would like to see Harrison ready to play by the third preseason against Buffalo.
This past Tuesday Harrison said on The Ike Taylor Show that fans can expect to see a healthier 92 this year. Harrison knows his own body better than anyone, but if he is not back by the third preseason game, you have to have some level of concern, at least early on in the season.
Should Worilds indeed start the season on the PUP list, the Steelers will be extremely thin with experienced depth at the right outside linebacker spot. Currently, Chris Carter is taking the first team reps at outside linebacker with both Harrison and Worilds down and he is being backed up by Adrian Robinson, the undrafted free agent out of Temple.