It’s been a mysterious offseason for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green. The organization finally gave at least a semblance of clarity on the situation, and it isn’t good.
Green, who signed a four-year deal worth $20 million with Pittsburgh in March, will start the season on the physically unable to perform list, the team announced Tuesday. That means Green will miss the first six weeks of the regular season.
The Steelers brought Green in with the hope that he could replace and eventually out-perform Heath Miller, who retired after last season. But an ankle injury combined and reports of recurring headaches has kept Green sidelined throughout training camp.
Green has been viewed as a talented prospect, but his potential didn’t really come to fruition as Antonio Gates’ backup in San Diego the past four seasons. He’s coming off of his best season, during which he achieved career highs in receptions (37), receiving yards (429) and touchdowns (four).
The Steelers don’t have a clear-cut solution behind Green. The three players listed behind Green on the depth chart have a combined 32 career receptions. Second-year pro Jesse James was listed as the starting tight end in Green’s place, but he has only eight receptions on his NFL resume. Behind him are eighth-year veteran David Johnson and USC rookie Xavier Grimble.
The Steelers have a plethora of weapons, but won’t be close to full strength until tailback Le’Veon Bell returns from suspension in Week 4.