Steelers have not set a timetable on the return of Heath Miller

Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE

Despite an assumption from the national media, neither the Steelers nor Heath Miller have set a date for the return of the injured tight end.

Somehow, this statement from Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac:

If all goes according to plan, the Steelers will take Miller off the PUP list before the start of the regular season and have him practice for three weeks before activating him and deciding when to let him play in a game. If they do not take him off the PUP list before they finalize their 53-man roster, Miller cannot return until the seventh week of the regular season.

Turned into this headline from NFL.com Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal:

"Steelers plan to activate Heath Miller before Week 1"

We wrote Dulac's statement as part of a larger story surrounding the team's tight end depth. Our opinion was the team not making a move at tight end (something Dulac reported) was indicative of not-reported plans of Miller returning before the season-opener.

Neither Dulac, nor us, reported there were reported plans of Miller's return by Week 1.

Not that it matters. We're hoping to shine some light on Around the League's decision to misrepresent what was written. Being the Tribune Review saw the discrepancy, they wisely jumped on it (in a much more subtle way than we are) Wednesday morning with the headline, "Miller can't pinpoint return to Steelers' lineup."

We implied the Steelers faced a similar issue with running back Rashard Mendenhall, another player coming off a torn ACL late in the previous season. He also started the preseason on the PUP list, but was eventually taken off. He was not activated until the team's Week 4 game, which happened to be after its bye week.

That has no bearing on Miller's return, it is simply drawing readers to a similar situation. The Steelers' Week 5 game against the Jets is not any more probable of a return date for Miller than their Week 3 game against Chicago.

We pointed out if Miller (or fellow tight end David Johnson, or linebacker Sean Spence) is placed on the regular season PUP list, the earliest game for which he'd be eligible to return would be after the team's sixth game of the season, which is their Week 8 game against the Oakland Raiders.

If the team isn't, in fact, planning to bring in another tight end, we feel that is suggestive, if not worthy of consideration, of the idea the team plans to activate Miller before the season. Taking him off the PUP would mean they'd have to clear a spot on the roster.

That is not the same thing as saying the Post Gazette is reporting Miller will be activated before the team's first game. It is not at all saying they plan to have him sit for the first four games, and play at the Jets after their bye week because that's what they did last year with Mendenhall.

As the Tribune Review wrote, there is no timetable confirmed right now by the team. It's a fair assumption to suggest the Steelers would like Miller back before then. Who wouldn't? The injury to Matt Spaeth really puts them in a tough spot at the position.

The buzz surrounding Miller's return won't lessen any time soon, though. He was the team's MVP in 2012 for a good reason. It's been one of the biggest running storylines in camp, and it will continue to be that way when he is activated and when he finally plays in a game.

We just don't know when that might be.

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