Steelers activate Heath Miller from PUP list, game status still unknown

Doug Pensinger

With Miller's presence but inability to play, the Steelers stocked up on tight ends, and they may not be done moving them around yet.

Heath Miller has officially become the 2013 version of former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall.

He's been following the path for several months now. Both tore ACLs late in the previous season. Both started training camp on the PUP list and were basically held out of all of the preseason the following year - although Mendenhall did come off the PUP list sooner than Miller did.

And now, both made the roster without continuing on the PUP or landing on injured reserve. But as Mendenhall didn't play until Week 5, it doesn't appear Miller will return any sooner than his former teammate did.

Miller's current status, as well as that of Matt Spaeth (expected to be placed on the IR Sunday, possibly with a designation to return) led the Steelers to keep five tight ends - a number that will almost certainly be reduced in the very near future.

Spaeth's impending designation will take him off the roster, leaving the Steelers with four tight ends, three of whom - David Paulson, David Johnson and Michael Palmer - are game-ready. That won't stand in the Steelers' way of making a move at the position.

New England's Jake Ballard is expected to be something of a hot commodity on the free agent market Sunday, and it's possible the Steelers take a sniff around. The amount they'd be willing to spend is up in the air. Depending on how comfortable they feel with Johnson - coming off a torn ACL of his own from the preseason of 2012 - as the strongside blocker, they still may feel compelled to bring in another blocker.

Certainly, it's not a requirement, but Paulson struggled as an in-line blocker, and Johnson has had little game experience in the last year. They may want to shore up the group.

Palmer's presence on the roster may simply be as insurance in case they're unable to make a deal for another tight end. However it ends up with making a move, the Steelers aren't going to wait long; it's a game week. They kick off with Tennessee in approximately one week.

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