Regarded as Big Ben's blindside protector , Max Starks career in the Black & Yellow could be nearing its end. The signing of Guy Whimper ( the name doesn't seem like one you would associate with the Steelers , just my opinion) signifies that the Steelers have possibly decided to not keep the Max Protector on the 2013 roster.
Starks , at his first Kentucky Derby this weekend, planned on spending the weekend enjoying the horses vie for the Winner's Circle and its adulation. Hence, like the life of a racing thoroughbred, there comes a time to finally decide whether the "horse" can still run some more races or to put the horse out to pasture. It seems the Steelers have decided that Starks no longer fits into their plans.
Why? How could you say that? The Steelers will keep Max on the backburner and just pluck him up when they need him . Well, according to Starks himself, they have made their choice as stated below:
"Let me say this, (Starks and the Steelers) had a conversation prior (to the Whimper signing), and that decision (to sign Whimper) was made after our conversation," Starks said. "Now it wasn't said directly to me, but you kind of take that as an indication of what they are thinking. It is not so much on my part as more of them wanting to move on." "(The Steelers) feel that age is the greatest indicator," Starks said. "Of course, I don't believe that."
Now , Starks can say this and many of us can be of the notion that well , he is just bluffing . According to reports and Starks himself, he has been contacted by several teams and has said he wants to have a deal in place by the time OTA's roll around. Starks , as reported by the San Diego Union Tribune visited the Chargers on Wednesday . Starks also has reported (by him) meetings with Cincinnati and Cleveland scheduled for the upcoming days ahead.
Unlike previous times when the Steelers were looking like they were going to part ways with Starks, this time it is much different . This one will stick and probably hurt the loyal Starks fans, for these reasons:
1. The Steelers are comfortable moving forward with consecutive year 2nd round picks Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams as their offensive tackles.
2. Unlike previous years, Starks isn't coming off an injury which makes him a valuable commodity possibly pricing him out of the Steelers price range as his value increases.
Starks himself could have something to do with his time in Pittsburgh coming to an ed. He recently made these statements about being brought back as a backup or to provide depth:
At 31 and feeling "the best I've felt over the past five years," Starks doesn't view himself as a backup.
"After playing 100 percent of the snaps the previous year, I don't think I am, at this point, ready to be a backup swing tackle guy just yet," Starks said. "I have proven over the past couple years that I am still starter-capable." "They want Marcus and Mike to start, and I understand that," Starks said. "Anywhere I go, as long as I have the opportunity to compete for the starting job, I am happy. I don't want to come in and them say that I am just a backup for depth purposes. If you give me the opportunity to compete on an even basis, I am more than happy."
Starks has started 96 games since being drafted in the 3rd round in 2004. He took part in all 1,086 snaps last year-the only player to do so last season! Currently, the 10 backups the Steelers have on the roster combined have started 27 times in their respective careers, with 22 of them from Whimper (have I said how this name "Whimper" doesn't seem to fit with the Steelers and their total image?).
Best case scenario for the Steelers would have been to pick up Starks for added depth . But like two ships passing in the night ..... It befuddles me why the Steelers don't want to have Starks around and also why Starks is reluctant to accept a backup role with the Steelers. If following the history of the offensive line, he would've gotten his chance to be a starter due to someone on the OL getting injured. If this is the end, Good Bye Mr. Starks! You were a solid tackle for us for a long time . Your experience will be missed!