Steelers’ Future Looking Grim

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Steelers’ Future Looking Grim

As if Ben Roethlisberger’s off-season troubles weren’t detrimental enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they now have to play the duration of the next season without star right tackle Willie Colon.

A source close to the team on Monday stated that Colon was to miss the entire 2010 season in order to have surgery on what is suspected to be a torn Achilles’ tendon. Colon tore the tendon during Monday’s workout and was seen leaving the Steelers’ training facilities on crutches.

Colon received an MRI yesterday, and the Steelers were beaten to the announcement by Colon’s agent, Joe Linta. Linta said: “It’s torn, and he’s getting surgery [Wednesday] morning with [team physician] Dr. James Bradley. He’s expected to have a full recovery, and it’s about a nine-month rehab.”

The injury recovery time is no less than five to six months, and the Steelers are going to place Colon on season-ending injured reserve in order give the player the maximum healing time possible.

According to Linta: “He’s expected to have a full recovery, and it’s about a nine-month rehab.”

Replacing Colon is not going to be an easy task for the Steelers. The Hofstra alum has started every game at his position for the Steelers for the last three seasons, and thus the Steelers are extremely shallow when it comes to tackles.

Some of the Steelers options in replacing Colon include playing backup tackles Jonathan Scott or Tony Hills, converting offensive guard Trai Essex to the position, or acquiring a veteran offensive tackle in free agency. Some available tackles this year include Flozell Adams and Levi Jones.

Another available option for the Steelers could be to use first-round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey in Colon’s spot. Although Pouncey played centre and guard at University of Florida, he has the physical capabilities to be a right tackle.

Whatever choice they make, the Steelers need to do so soon. They were planning on emphasizing a run-first model of offence this season, especially in the duration they would be without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger, and it would be impossible for them to do so without a right tackle.

The Steelers have to play four games to start off the seasons without Roethlisberger, who has been suspended for off-field behavioural issues stemming from an incident at a Georgia nightclub over the summer. Additionally, the Steelers are without their traditionally best wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

Holmes, the Super Bowl XLIII MVP, was traded to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick following his own personal troubles. The Steelers may have cleaned up their image by getting rid of Holmes, but may have also destroyed their chances in the AFC North.

Last season the Steelers finished third in the division even though they had won the Super Bowl the previous year. This year does not look like it will be much better for the Steelers. Their team was essentially built around franchise QB Roethlisberger, and they are sorely underprepared for four games without Big Ben.

The available backups are Dennis Dixon, Charlie Batch, and Byron Leftwich. Leftwich is the most established of the QBs, but the starter will be determined by training camp competition. The Steelers had planned to alleviate pressure by focusing on running the ball, but that aspect of their game will be severely damped by the lack of a star right tackle.

Essentially, the Steelers just will not have what it takes to compete in their division this year. The AFC North is going to be going to either the Cincinnati Bengals or the Baltimore Ravens, two teams who picked apart the Steelers when they were at full-strength last season.


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