Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green still hasn’t practiced a single play with his new team after signing a four-year deal this offseason.
And it has nothing to do with offseason ankle surgery, reports Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com.
“…a member of the organization, informed of the player’s health, said it has nothing to do with the tight end’s surgically-repaired ankle — but is instead an issue with recurring headaches.”
This is surely frustrating for Pittsburgh, and for Green.
The Steelers gave Green $4.75 million guaranteed on his four-year, $20 million contract to bring him aboard in free agency. He was expected to be a big part of the team’s offense this year as a potential replacement for Heath Miller, the team’s long-time playmaking tight end, who retired in February.
As mentioned by Kinkhabwala, Green suffered two concussions last year with the San Diego Chargers and dealt with headaches afterwards. The two concussions also represented three in the last year, as the tight end also missed a game with a concussion during the 2014 season.
A pass-catching tight end with speed to stretch the field, Green was once thought to be Antonio Gates’ heir-apparent in San Diego. He is coming off his best season as a pro in 2015 when he caught 37 passes for 429 yards and four touchdowns.
For the Steelers, this is a difficult development that puts tremendous pressure on some untested young tight ends to step up in Green’s absence. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed some concern about the tight end position on Wednesday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His main message to his young players is, “Don’t try to be Heath.”
This is also a concerning development for fantasy football owners, who would be wise to follow this ongoing story with interest.