Kevin Colbert Acknowledges Receiving Letter From Injured PSU LB Michael Mauti

Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti will be at the NFL combine this week but he will not participate in any of the on-the-field drills after suffering a third serious knee injury this past November that ended his season.

Mauti, who likely would have been a second or third round prospect had he stayed healthy, vows to return from his latest injury and he let all 32 teams know that, along with how important the game means to him, in the form of a hand written letter that he sent to each and every team.

“I\’ve done it twice now, and I\’m going to do it again,” Mauti said of making a comeback, via a story by Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “No one was talking about it (in 2012) — the fact that I was coming off an injury, and my play spoke for itself.”

Brown reports that Mauti is currently training with a former Penn State teammate just outside of New Orleans and regularly working out as many as six hours a day.

“You wouldn\’t know this kid has had a knee injury at all,” said Jason DeMelo of Xcel Sports Performance. “He\’s killing everything. He just works hard, heals quickly.”

Mauti was recognized as a team leader for the Nittany Lions and that leadership reportedly help keep several of his teammates from transferring to another school after several sanctions were handed down from the NCAA in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked Thursday about receiving his letter from Mauti. Colbert, who normally has a policy about not commenting about a specific player during the combine, or any other time for that matter leading up to the draft, somewhat made an exception in this case.

“It\’s rare to get one of those,” Colbert said while smiling. “Occasionally you\’ll come across a few, but not very often.”

The Steelers will more than likely be looking for help at the inside linebacker position on drafty day and they could address that position in any round. Mauti should pass the interview test at that combine with flying colors, but could wind up going undrafted just the same because of his injury. Several teams, depending on what they deem the long-term prognosis on Mauti is, could be battling to sign him immediately after the draft as free agent.

Is Mauti worth a seventh-round selection by the Steelers to keep from having to bid for him after the draft, especially if they have already drafted another inside linebacker in an earlier round? It is too early to tell as it all depends on how the draft goes for starters and who is left on the board on that time in addition.

It would be a hell of a risk, but there won\’t be many players left on the board that late with the upside that Mauti offers, if he indeed can return a third time.

“I wanted to let people in the NFL know I was going to be ready to play,” Mauti said, via Brown, “and I plan on playing in the fall.”

I, for one, wouldn\’t bet against that plan. Will the Steelers? Can Linebacker U deliver one more to the city of Pittsburgh?

  • Scott

    He is well worth the risk. Especially as a 6th or 7th rounder. The leadership he will bring to the defense would be incredible, and he would instantly become a tackling machine (see Sean Lee, Paul Posluszny). I’d draft an OLB early and then address ILB w/ Spence, Mauti, and possibly another later round pick.

  • Bob Francis

    I agree. I know every draft pick is valuable, but I’m a big believer that the 6th and especially 7th round picks are perfect for these types of guys – injured players who would have been drafted higher or small school guys who have all the tape and measureables (but not the high level of competition). These are picks for high risk-high reward. Get them with a pick to save fighting for them as UDFAs.

  • smokeybandit

    Some team, maybe one with a few extra late picks, will draft him maybe as early as the 5th round

  • SteelerDave

    Mauti is definitely a leader and a gamer. Well worth at least a 6th round pick, a 5th if he passes physicals. Would love to have him.

  • Superdriller316

    If this guy can play Buck that’s good, but if he can’t? We need to get a Buck in the first. There are pass rushers that can be picked up later in the draft. We need a smart, physical guy that can play the Buck position.

  • I remember Greg Lloyd was plagued with horrible knee injuries in college and his first couple years as a pro too. If this young man is healthy when he performs his personal tryouts and can help us on the inside as a late mid to late round pick, absolutely take a chance on him. He is smart and obviously a great locker room/team first guy to have as well…just like Lloyd was.