PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 16: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a first quarter touchdown with Max Starks #78 while playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field on October 16, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Steeler Nation, having lived through the last two seasons of a revolving door at offensive line, undoubtedly emitted a collective groan when Mike Adams was announced to be out with a knee injury during the Steelers/Eagles preseason game. However, a little good news has come down the wire. According to Steelers.com, Max Starks has been activated from the PUP list today.
Because of the rules under the new collective bargaining agreement, Starks cannot fully participate in practice with the team until Friday, and so will certainly not be in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Colts. I would guess it is fairly unlikely they will use Starks much before the season opener. Why risk a known quantity like Starks, just coming off an injury, when the games don't count and you have plenty of other guys to look at?
The running backs are also in a state of flux at the moment. John Clay, who saw very limited action in last week's game, has been waived/injured. He was carted off during practice last Sunday. The injury was to "the hip or groin," according to Mike Tomlin. With Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer already missing practice because of minor injuries, things are getting awfully thin at running back all of a sudden.
Jason Ford played both running back and fullback at Illinios, where throughout his four-year career he compiled 432 carries for 1,962 yards and 26 TDs. Ford also caught 46 passes for 389 yards. Ford is projected to be a NFL fullback because at 5’10", 235 lbs., Ford possesses neither the speed nor agility required of a true tailback. Ford is, however, a big body who enjoys lowing his pads and delivering a blow to defenders, making him an ideal candidate for fullback duties.
The Texans cut him on July 26th, leaving him available to the Steelers. Let us devoutly hope he can lower his pads and keeping defenders off the running backs we have left.