The 2013 season is not off to a good start for Pittsburgh Steelers second-year nose tackle Alameda Ta\’amu. During the offseason practices, Ta\’amu was forced to share second team reps at nose tackle with defensive end Al Woods of all people and now; the 2012 fourth-round draft pick starts his second training camp on the PUP list because of a hamstring problem.
During his Friday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Ta\’amu would be out “a number of days,” so it\’s anyone\’s guess as to when he\’ll be able to practice. Every day missed is crucial for a young player such as Ta\’amu, who had his rookie season interrupted by off the field issues that he caused.
This makes the second year in a row that the Washington product won\’t be on the field for the first practice of training camp. If you remember, the veterans made Ta\’amu walk three miles to Wal-Mart last year to get them some snacks on the first night of training camp. That resulted in a sore foot for Ta\’amu and he didn\’t practice until day three as a result.
Last year during the preseason, Ta\’amu played all of 49 snaps, and he did not dress for a game during the regular season. Now that Casey Hampton is gone, Steve McLendon will be the starter, but behind him currently sits three nose tackles on the 90 man roster that have a combined seven regular season snaps between them.
Should Ta\’amu wind up being sidelined for the first week of training camp, you really have start wondering what his chances are at making the roster. While Ta\’amu is busy working on the side with the trainers over the course of the next few days, both Hebron Fangupo and undrafted free agent Omar Hunter will be stealing his reps. Reps that he will never get back.
The Steelers traded up 10 spots during the 2012 draft to select Ta\’amu and it cost them a sixth-round pick to do so. Right now, that trade and selection look like bad decisions. Hopefully Ta\’amu can put this latest setback behind him quickly, because if he doesn\’t, he just might find himself battling for a practice squad spot instead of a spot on the 53 man roster.