Typically I'd use this Friday afternoon post to check in on the practice and injury report submitted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but with the Steelers not playing until Monday night and no report yet available, I'll give a quick shout out to a player that caught a bad break this summer. A real bad break actually. Willie Colon suffered an excruciating Achilles heel injury during mini-camps, and before the pads went on for the first time in Latrobe, the Steelers had lost their starting right tackle for the season. Thankfully, the Steelers did what they do - adapt and adjust on the fly. I've been very pleased with the play of Flozell Adams, who after starting off slow at camp, has rounded into form nicely.
Back to Colon though.
What's really unfortunate about his situation beyond just the awful injury is the timing of it. Colon was drafted in 2006, and after the 2009 season, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after having accrued four seasons. Only problem is the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired, and guys like Colon and Heath Miller now needed an additional season before hitting that coveted unrestricted status. Now, who knows what the future holds for Colon. Will he get a big offer right away from a team? Or will this injury be an excuse for the Steelers or some other team to make him prove himself all over again for a year or two before getting paid handsomely? Will there even be football in 2011?
For a guy that had come such a long way to get to where he was, it's just a big setback at exactly the wrong time.That's not to say he can't or won't land on his feet. He was after all one of the absolute most durable players on the roster since he was named the starting tight tackle at the outset of the 2007 season. Colon missed a grand total of zero games during the '07-'09 seasons. That's impressive durability. And hopefully it will convince either the Steelers or another team that he's worth investing in when he's again healthy enough to play.
Get well Willie! We may have yelled at you several thousand times earlier in your career, but you found your way out of that enormous dog house and into the good graces of Steeler Nation with your improved play and tenacious resolve.