With Ben Roethlisberger now recovering from surgery on a torn left meniscus, the Pittsburgh Steelers could use as much help as they can get to offer backup quarterback Landry Jones. And it’s looking like they might get some more this week.
Tight end Ladarius Green has yet to play a snap for the Steelers after signing as a free agent from the San Diego Chargers. He’s spent all of this season on the Physically Unable to Perform List due to complications recovering from offseason ankle surgery. He was also in the league’s concussion protocol and was suffering from headaches, according to multiple reports.
Green is eligible to return to practice this week if the Steelers decide to open a 21-day practice window for him. He told reporters Monday he plans to meet with coaches this week to determine whether he can start practicing.
“It’s been so long, I feel like I retired and came back,” he said, per the Associated Press’ Will Graves.
When the Steelers signed Green to a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason, they were hoping to get a receiving talent who could replace the long-dependable Heath Miller, who retired last offseason. In San Diego, Green showed flashes of being that kind of talent behind Antonio Gates. Last season, his fourth in the league, Green totaled career highs with 37 catches, 429 yards and 4 touchdowns in 13 games with 11 starts.
He’s now hoping he can give a jolt to a Steelers team fresh off a 30-15 road loss to the Miami Dolphins that cost them their quarterback. Pittsburgh played that game without wide receiver Markus Wheaton, who missed with a shoulder injury. Another starting wideout, Martavis Bryant, will not play this year while suspended for substance abuse. Second-year receiver Sammie Coates is struggling with hand injuries.
In Green’s absence, the Steelers have worked with third-year tight end Jesse James. In six games, James has caught 29 passes for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns for the 4-2 Steelers, who rank 9th in the NFL in passing yards per game.