Rooney II On Process Of Determining Health Of Free Agents: ‘It’s Not Perfect’

When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed tight end Ladarius Green to a four-year, $20 million free agent contract last March the hope was that they had acquired a Green Ferrari. However, due to Green only being able to play in six games during the 2016 regular season due to ankle and concussion issues, on the surface it appears right now that the Steelers acquired themselves a green lemon.

During a Wednesday morning interview on DVE Radio, Steelers team president Art Rooney II was asked if the team will reassess their process in which they determine the physical fitness of free agents moving forward in light of what happened this past season with Green.

“We’re always trying to make sure we have as much information as we can when you go into that process, but unfortunately it’s not perfect and sometimes the information we get in terms of the medical records from the prior team, things like that, are not quite what you would hope for,” Rooney said. “So, to the extent that we can get more information on players were evaluating, we’ll try to and do it.

“I think in this situation there may not have been any medical records that could have shed any more light on how this was going to progress and he [Green] was dealing with different injuries over that course throughout the season, really. And so, it was unfortunate for him, unfortunate for us that he just couldn’t get healthy enough. And we saw a couple of flashes there in a few games of what his potential is and so we’ll just have to evaluate him here in the offseason and see where he is.”

So, in light of everything that has happened thus far with Green, are the Steelers still committed to trying to make it work with him moving forward?

“I think we’ve got to get through more medical clearances from the doctors and those kind of evaluations to see where he is,” Rooney said Wednesday.

Much like the comments that Rooney made Tuesday during his talk with the Pittsburgh media, it’s evident that the Steelers team president isn’t quite ready to commit to Green being part of the 2017 team and you can certainly understand why. Green is scheduled to earn $5 million in 2017 and that’s quite a bit of money to commit to a player who might be more susceptible to concussions than other players moving forward because of his history with such an injury.

It’s clear that the Steelers won’t make a quick decision in regard to Green’s future in Pittsburgh and I speculate such a decision won’t be made until long after the 2017 NFL Draft. In the meantime, however, not only will the Steelers closely evaluate Green’s medical evaluations, they’ll also likely reexamine their process of determining the health of future free agents they might be interested in signing.

  • VaDave

    As the Wolfman says, “He’s gotta get clearance from the Cranioligyst.”

  • Lee Foo Young

    If I was a betting man, I’d bet they decide to let him go for health reasons.

    However, I DO hope he is healthy and plays EVERY game….but I doubt that will happen.

  • RickM

    Well the San Diego medical records had to show the 3 league-registered concussion protocols in two playing months (one in December 2014 and two in September 2015). I assume Art is suggesting the September ones were explained away as something else (sinus).

  • pittsburghjoe

    I think 2017 will be a repeat. He is just one jarring hit away from an extended absence. The risk is much higher than normal for LG. It’s like watching a little kid walk throug a china shop. His injury is unfortunately very severe and a lingering issue.

  • NW86

    Was the “concussion protocol” even in place in 2014?

    Regardless, a lot of fans have perfect 20/20 hindsight here, but the facts at the time were that over the past 3 years, LG had missed a TOTAL of 3 games due to injury, and 1 or 2 of those were due to the ankle that was surgically repair prior to signing with the Steelers. I don’t know why everyone tries so hard to blame this on someone. Sometimes, you just have bad luck and people get hurt. It happens to every team in the league.

  • NW86

    How do you know any of this?

  • thehugster

    Time for Green to get on with his life’s work which doesn’t involve playing football

  • William Weaver

    He is quite the vocabulurist

  • RickM

    Of course it was. His December 2014 concussion is even on You Tube with Browner knocking him out. It’s not second-guessing, it’s fact. He had an ankle injury and 3 concussion protocols. Green missed 5 games by the way in his last two seasons with SD, not 3 in three years. It’s ironic that you would be rushing to the Steelers’ defense after he missed 12 games this year, but that’s certainly your prerogative. My only point is that the Steelers had no reason not to know his injury history when they signed him. The concussions were registered with the league office, they were in San Diego newspapers, etc.

  • William Weaver

    My humble opinion is.. he shown flashes that proved the team was right in their evaluation of him as a player. As for the other things, sometimes things just happen. He might be ok for the rest of his career now or he might not be. As deep of a TE class as this is, I don’t see a reason to risk paying him $5 million when we can draft a new one. Obviously no guarantee either way but I would take my chances with a rookie. Waive him and resign him to a cheaper deal if nobody else grabs him.

  • Steve Bozell

    “I think we’ve got to get through more medical clearances from the doctors and those kind of evaluations to see where he is,” Rooney said Wednesday.

    Yeah, you might should have done that before you signed him in the first place, genius. The Steelers have really turned into one of the dumber organizations in recent years.

  • Jason Vancil

    He was almost too good to be true. Why did SD not make any effort to resign and then drafted Hunter Henry?

  • Andy Wright

    Risk > Reward. Time to cut bait.

  • nutty32

    Per Sportrac LG has another $3 mil guaranteed – “Ladarius Green signed a 4 year, $20,000,000 contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including a $4,750,000 signing bonus, $4,750,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $5,000,000. In 2016, Green will earn a base salary of $1,250,000 and a signing bonus of $4,750,000. Green has a cap hit of $2,437,500 while his dead money value is $6,000,000.”

    What a crook of pooh AR2 is peddling. EVERYONE knew LG was very much injury prone and had numerous previous serious concussions; no medical experts required.

  • Applebite

    So, in other words, the Chargers F.O. cheated on Green’s medical records?

  • walter

    Maybe. But more important, Green was not entirely truthful and i don’t think he can be trusted.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Amen to that. I think he’s just out to get as much money as he can before teams wise up to his health problems.

  • RickM

    I’m not sure. That’s a good question. His Dec, 2014 concussion hit on the field is well-known. The next fall he reported concussion-like symptoms twice in 11 days to the team, one was the Tuesday after a game and the other was in a practice session. Both times the team put him in the protocol. Another poster said he also had concussion symptoms in training camp before the 2015 season, but I’m not familiar with that one (not saying it didn’t happen).

    I really don’t know what the SD medical reports said, so anything I might say would be speculation. I mentioned sinuses because I think Green raised that initially and later said he wasn’t a doctor.

  • walter

    Yes unfortunately thats how i see it.