The first practice for Ladarius Green as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn’t supposed to come on the bye week, seven weeks into the season, but it’s an arrival the tight end seemed to appreciate nonetheless.
“I was excited. A little nervous,” Green said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It was good to get out there with the fellas.”
Green told reporters the surgically repaired ankle that started his Steelers tenure on the Physically Unable to Perform List held up well in his first practice. He’ll get to test it out again Wednesday during the team’s final practice of the bye week.
Green had sat out everything the Steelers have done prior to Tuesday’s practice. It wasn’t what they envisioned when he signed a four-year, $20 million deal last offseason in an attempt to replace the retired Heath Miller. Not after the 6-foot-6, 240-pound 26-year-old displayed such size and athleticism backing up Antonio Gates in San Diego, where he had a career-high 37 catches for 429 yards and 4 touchdowns in his fourth season last year.
But at this point, the Steelers will take the return of any talented player who can help the first-place team in the AFC North. At 4-3, Pittsburgh has lost two straight games after injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and receivers Sammie Coates and Markus Wheaton. Pittsburgh has been playing without suspended starting wideout Martavis Bryant all season, as well.
Green still has to go through more physical activity before he can determine when his return might come. The Steelers have 21 days after Green starts practicing to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or to shut him down for the season.
A practice during the bye week didn’t provide the answers, but it seemed to be a good first step.
“It’s good to get a week in and get used to everything,” Green said.