Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Max Starks was removed from the PUP list this week, but he said on Thursday that he will not play Sunday night in the Steelers second preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Because of the new CBA rules, Starks has not been able to put the pads on just yet and wont until Friday. Although Mike Tomlin said this week that he was not ruling out Starks playing Sunday night, the veteran tackle told reporters today that he\'s not even close to being able to play just yet. Surprising? No, not in the least, and there certainly is no reason to rush him along either.
On Wednesday evening, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported after practice that Starks pushed a Toro tractor 10 yards at a time on one of the far fields under the supervision of associate strength and conditioning coach Marcel Pastoor. Riding on that tractor were Pastoor and injured linebacker Jason Worilds. I would say that is a pretty good sign, but only Pastoor and Starks really know how close he really is to being a 100%.
With Starks now officially ruling himself out, Marcus Gilbert will get the initial starting snaps at left tackle as he has done all this week in practice before presumably moving back over to the right side to finish out his night of work. After Gilbert exits the game, it more than likely will be Trai Essex that will get the next shot at left tackle and he figures to be followed by rookie seventh round draft pick Kelvin Beachum. Essex also figures to get playing time at right tackle after Gilbert is done for the night and Beachum once again should get work at the left guard spot once again as well.
With Gilbert starting at left tackle, Ramon Foster will play right tackle before kicking inside to one of the guard spots.