Report: Steelers Recently Talked To Max Starks, Who Still Wants Opportunity To Start

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.

  • …and there ya go Folks, the Youth Movement is looks as though it has been Max’s decision all along. Starter status and Starter money. Who can blame him?

  • steeltown

    I don’t get this…

    First, obviously Whimper is nothing more than a camp body..

    Second, I thought almost every position was up for grabs, competition is paramount and no one is guaranteed anything. Now, obviously guys like Ben, A.Brown, Pouncey, Polamalu, Timmons, Ike Taylor, Clark and Woodley are pretty much guaranteed to start at their respective positions even if they struggle in preseason, BUT I would think every other position is up for grabs. Why not let Starks compete for the starting job? Whats the worst that could happen??

    Doesn’t make sense, there must be something we don’t know

  • stairman

    I think the Steelers have treated Starks very poorly the past 2 seasons. He came off the couch, and started the same week, and held his own all season in 2011. He has been dependable and reliable. Watch someone will go down, and the Steelers will wish they signed him.

  • NW86

    My guess is they didn’t tell him “you can’t compete for the starting job”. The probably said something like “everyone has a chance to compete…but we’re only offering you the league minimum”. I’m sure Max wants to be paid like at least a borderline starter.

  • nikgreene

    I think you’re right- money is the hang up now. Since he was injured last season we could get away with offering the minimum. Since he now sees himself as starting capable he wants starter money and the team can’t afford that. Good luck to him, but he won’t play for Pittsburgh barring injury.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I think the line needs the youth and continuity of having the starters named before training camp. Having battles and position shifts is the absolute wrong way to go with the age of the line and the new coaches.

    The upside of squeezing another year out of Starks isn’t even really an upside anyway.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I say sign him and let him compete for the starting job if he wins it that means he is better which should translate to how good we are. Its sort of a win win situation

  • Pete

    Starks doesn’t feel the Steelers will bring him back and if they did it wouldn’t be as a starter. He wants to start or at least be able to compete for the starting job and I don’t blame the guy. He gave up 5 sacks last season. He’s not a dominating LT but he gets the job done. I have doubts whether either Adams or Gilbert will be that good this coming season. And durable to boot! Ben had better get his armor on.

    “They want Marcus and Mike to start, and I understand that,” Starks
    said. “Anywhere I go, as long as I have the opportunity to compete for
    the starting job, I am happy…”

  • Kevin artis

    They know Starks will win the starting LT position. He’s better than both Adams and Gilbert. Plus they don’t have the money to pay him starter money. Not until June at least. Jus pray Gilbert and Adams can hold it down or else ben won’t last mid season.

  • zyzak

    good news indeed, Max you’ve been a great guy but your play has been below the line

  • r4kolb

    I’m guessing it’s about the money. If the Steelers sign him with the understanding he will be a back up it would be for less money. Backup money vs. starter money.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Treated him very poorly?

    Because they didn’t sign him as a free agent faster or for more money?

    Has anyone in the NFL, besides the Steelers, EVER offered him a job?

  • steeltown

    You’re probably right

  • steeltown

    We have some fine young prospects behind our ‘starters’ ,like Beachum, Embernate, Golic Jr, Justin Cheadle, Joe Madson (maybe even John Malecki) but these guys are projected as interior guys…. we just don’t have many Tackle prospects, we have Joe Long, Mike Farrell (and Whimper) I cant read to much into Golic Jr playing RT at the rookie mini camp because he doesn’t really have the size for it and I don’t think he ever played Tackle in college. The undersized Beachum played well at OT, but he played 4yrs of it in college. At this point, it seems more and more evident that we’ll see Foster playing some Tackle, same with Beachum
    That must be their thinking, Foster and Beachum will serve as the backup Tackles, so they need to find guys to fill in the interior

  • steeltown

    Very true

  • TheBlitz

    This is all about starter money vs backup (vet min money). They steelers are cap strapped and can’t afford his asking price.

    Also, if they didn’t think Adams or Gilbert could at least hold their own at the LT position, they would have found a way to sign Starks a long time ago.

  • I think Embernasty is pretty good at pulling, much better than Foster anyway. If he can nab that other Guard spot from Foster, there would be 3 nasty people on the interior. We have four tackle capables with Adams, Gilbert, Foster, Beachum and the warm body Whimper (5) is there for camp.

  • Stephen Dale

    I whimper when thinking Guy will have to play for the Steelers. Wish the F.O. had signed Caldwell if they decided against bringing Starks back, particularly after drafting no additional tackles. maybe the Golic kid offers more portential than anybody realizes.

  • steeltown

    That’s my thinking as well, atleast with the current players on roster.. so, Foster and/or Beachum kick outside when needed.. IF (god forbid) both Beachum and Foster are starting at OT, then either Embernate, Golic Jr or Malecki move into the LG spot

  • SteelSpine


  • SteelSpine

    That’s my thoughts too, top to bottom. My fingers are crossed hoping Gilbert & Adams hold it down. My concern is if one or the other doesn’t & it’s a turnstyle at either OT position for the first handful of games that would be waiting too long to fix it. At that time tho at-least we’ll have options to try at OT which is Foster & Beachum whom odds are one or the other might be a good OT this year. The only thing that could kill that plan is Foster & Beachum might be guards by then due to having to replace injured people.

  • SteelSpine

    Amen that’s my thoughts too exactly before I even read your post. At the rate Beachum improved last year, & with Foster’s experience, it wouldn’t surprise me if one or the other of those 2 improved enough to be an OK patch at an OT spot. But the kicker is, we cant afford to have as many injuries on OL as in past because that would mean Beachum & Foster are already filling in at guard spots therefore not available for OT. If we moved Foster or Beachum out to OT, we would have to have someone step in at guard for them, & I don’t think Steelers have confidence in the Malecki types for guard.

  • steeltown

    Agreed.. but at this point that is what they’d have to do if the injury bug struck more than twice (throw a UDFA to the wolves) Im really putting my money on DeCastro having a productive and healthy season, that would really help. That way, if Gilbert goes down, Foster can kick over and Beachum can play LG

    Im not so sure about Malecki any longer, he is a smart guy, but he truly is a poor mans Legursky and that’s not saying much. Golic Jr and Embernate seem, atleast at this point, to have more upside as an interior swing OG and possible backup Center, with a new OL coach and scheme these guys are all on an even playing field