It’s not often that we get much access to Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, but when we do, it comes at around this time, during the offseason, when he plays his most important roles, in reshaping the roster for the next season. Because the opportunities to gain his perspective are fairly sparse, we tend to seize on his messages.
One of the most interesting comments that I think Colbert made to reporters yesterday was a nugget pertaining to free agent tight end Ladarius Green, who only saw the field for six games out of a possibly 19—or 23 if you include the preseason—first due to a lengthy recovery from ankle surgery and then to a clearly significant concussion.
But Colbert conveyed the idea that the organization was very pleased with what they actually saw from their $20 million investment when he actually was on the field. According to Chris Bradford, Green was “everything the Steelers expected” when they were able to see him play.
The receiving tight end caught 18 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown with a nearly 17 yards-per-catch average, including a career-high six-catch, 110-yard performance against the Giants. In the game in which he was injured, he caught five passes for 72 yards, including an explosive play that converted a third and long and essentially sealed the victory.
But that was the catch on which he took a blow to the head and suffered what appears to be the most significant concussion yet of his career. He attempted to return to practice on at least one occasion, but had a setback, and as a result missed the team’s final two regular season games and all three postseason contests.
Colbert talked about his concussion after pointing out that the team doesn’t play any games until August, “so he’s got time to heal properly”. “In any concussion”, he said, the one thing we do know is that you have to give it time to properly heal before you re-enter into competition. And that’s where he is”.
It’s not entirely clear here if Colbert is indicating that Green is still dealing with concussion symptoms or is referencing the nature of the offseason. It’s possible that he may not be re-evaluated until the new league year or the first spring practices start.
He did say that Green is “entering the offseason” and that “he’s excited about being able to come back and being able to play”, adding that “we’ll see where he is when he gets back in the program in March or April, whenever he comes back here”, a comment that leans more toward the latter from the above in indicating that he may not even know where the tight end is currently with his concussion.
What we do now know is that the Steelers are happy with what they saw from Green the player, even if they didn’t see as much as they wanted. We have gotten our fair share of accusations of him playing slow, timid, and worse, but the Steelers don’t seem to agree. Provided that he is able to overcome this concussion, I would expect big things in his future.