It\’s funny how non news can suddenly become big news. According to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, there\’s a “strong possibility” Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller won\’t be ready for the 2013 season opener.
Really? Robinson certainly goes out on a limb there and for some reason; this revelation of his resulted in the Steelers trending Sunday on Yahoo. Considering the tight end tore up his knee in the second to last game of the 2012 season, his readiness for the start of the 2013 has always been in question.
Miller updated his status a few weeks ago and refused to put a timetable on his return. His rehab, however, is on track, and he was even running 100-yard sprints during the last week of OTA practices.
Keep in mind that Miller is not even six months removed from his surgery right now, so there is no way that he will be ready to practice by the time training camp opens. Will he be ready by the start of the season? Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seems to think so, but he\’s not a doctor.
Should Miller not be ready for the season opener, he has plenty of confidence that the other tight ends on the roster can fill in for him until he\’s ready to play.
“We have a really good room, a lot of capable guys in there,” Miller said. “I think maybe one of the best top to bottom that I\’ve been starting camp with. Hopefully we\’ll be able to keep everybody healthy, and I think everybody is capable of contributing and doing a good job.”
Miller is of course talking about Matt Spaeth and David Paulson, as they would both fill in for him should he be sidelined to start the season. Of the two, Spaeth is the better blocker, so he would most likely be the starter with Paulson coming in when two tight end personnel groupings are used.
Spaeth did, however, say a few weeks ago that his two years with the Chicago Bears made him a more versatile tight end than what he was when he left Pittsburgh via free agency following the 2010 season. Even if he is more versatile, both he and Paulson will still have a tough time filling just one of Miller\’s shoes and he knows that.
“I\’m a role guy, I know I\’ve got a role, and I never worry about how many balls are being thrown to me,” Spaeth said. “My goal is to go out every day and every game and play as well as I can, whether that\’s catching passes or blocking, it doesn\’t matter.”