According to Wednesday report by Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review , the Pittsburgh Steelers recently reached out to free agent tackle Max Starks, but his return to Pittsburgh, at least according to him, isn\'t likely to happen unless he is given the opportunity to compete for a starting spot.
According to Kaboly, Starks seems to think that the Steelers have now moved passed him for good being as they signed free agent tackle Guy Whimper after talking to him.
"Let me say this, (Starks and the Steelers) had a conversation prior (to the Whimper signing), and that decision (to sign Whimper) was made after our conversation," Starks told Kaboly. "Now it wasn\'t said directly to me, but you kind of take that as an indication of what they are thinking. It is not so much on my part as more of them wanting to move on."
Starks, who claims that he has interest from other teams, expects to sign somewhere over the course of the next few weeks. He of course didn\'t name the teams and Kaboly speculates that the Cleveland Browns could be a team in the AFC North with interest in him.
At the end of last season, Starks, who managed to return from a torn ACL suffered in the 2011 AFC Wild Card game against the Denver Broncos to play every offensive snap in 2012, said that he was indeed interested in returning to Pittsburgh in 2013, but not if it meant being a backup to Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams. According to Kaboly\'s report, he still holds that stance.
"After playing 100 percent of the snaps the previous year, I don\'t think I am, at this point, ready to be a backup swing tackle guy just yet," Starks told Kaboly. "I have proven over the past couple years that I am still starter-capable."
Starks added that wherever he lands, he expects the opportunity to at least compete for a starting job.
Now, as I mentioned previously, if the Steelers signed Whimper with the expectations that he would be the backup tackle this year, they are foolish beyond belief. Whimper has allowed 19 sacks and too many quarterback pressures to count over the course of the last two seasons. He\'s a camp body at best. At least he better be.
As much as I like Starks and respect his views, I find it hard to believe that any team is going to give him an honest opportunity to start for them this late in the offseason. As far as the Browns go, Mitchell Schwartz played pretty damn good for them at right tackle as a rookie last season, and the last time I looked, Joe Thomas was still on the left side.
Like I have said in several other post, as long as Starks remains unsigned and the Steelers haven\'t given away the jersey No. 78 to another player, there\'s always a chance that he will return in 2013. If he has not signed with a team by the time OTA sessions get underway in a few more weeks, he might as well wait and see if a team loses a starting tackle during the remainder of the offseason, especially if he is dead set on starting.
To be continued...
UPDATE: I forgot to add, Starks visted with the San Diego Chargers today, according to Ian Rapoport on Twitter.