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Pittsburgh Steelers players starting on PUP list are already behind the eight-ball

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Mike Tomlin listed 5 players who will start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and those 5 players will already be behind the proverbial eight-ball in terms of proving their worth.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After the Pittsburgh Steelers participated in their annual conditioning test, head coach Mike Tomlin met with media to briefly discuss some items on the team's agenda when the workouts officially start Sunday. The most important on the coach's to-do list would be the five players who will be starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Shawn Lemon (Achilles tendon strain), Mike Adams (Back), Senquez Golson (shoulder), Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder) and Maurkice Pouncey (foot) were all named on the team's PUP list.

At first glance, the report doesn't seem to be all that serious, but look closely and there are several injuries which will certainly impact the individual players ability to prove themselves in the preseason.

Shawn Lemon is a player trying to make a name for himself after a tremendous 2014 season in the Canadian Football League, and when it comes to the Steelers log-jammed competition at the OLB position, any time missed could severely hurt his chances of making the team. Throw in the fact any injury to an Achilles tendon could take weeks to heal complicates this injury even further.

Coach Tomlin wasn't particularly enthusiastic about Golson's shoulder injury. The second round draft pick might be missing a week or so of his first NFL training camp due to a shoulder injury which will certainly delay any progress he had made through rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp. Golson's injury could allow other cornerbacks like fellow rookie Doran Grant, B.W. Webb and Kevin Fogg to move up on the team's depth chart.

Mike Adams' back injury, which required surgery only a short week ago, will have the reserve tackle missing all of training camp and most likely all of the preseason. Adams is in the final year of his rookie contract, and this injury certainly opens the door for another player to grab the reserve tackle position. Alejandro Villanueva, Kevin Whimpey, Mitchell Van Dyk and newly signed Kevin Palmer will all be vying to leap frog Adams and prove his injury could be the reason behind his release.

As for the other two injuries, there isn't much cause for concern for Gradksowski and Pouncey, although Mike Mitchell is the perfect example of how a lingering injury can stay with a player for the duration of the season, as he suffered a groin injury before training camp and dealt with it for the entire 2014 season. As for the 5 players currently on the PUP list, they find themselves behind the 8-ball and will have to claw their way onto the field as soon as possible to validate their spots on the team's roster.