LATEST STEELERS CAMP RUMBLINGS
— There has been a sense of uncertainty surrounding 34 year old linebacker James Harrison since camp opened up due to an on-going knee injury and that uncertainty has peaked with Harrison undergoing knee surgery Wednesday morning in what the Steelers and Harrison’s camp contend was a minor procedure that normally sidelines a player for two to four weeks, but no one can put a timetable on Harrison’s return right now.
The Steelers hope has been that they can get at least one more dominant season out of Harrison who is signed through 2014, but few outside linebackers at Harrison’s age, 34, can sustain a pro bowl level of play because their body begins to break down sometimes by their early 30’s and almost always for outside linebackers in their mid-30’s.
While not in a Steelers uniform, Joey Porter for example went from 17.5 sacks at age 31 in 2008 to 9 sacks in 2009, 5 sacks in 2010 and 1 sack in 2011 at age 34 last season for Arizona, retiring this summer.
If there’s one guy who could be dominant in his mid-30’s, Harrison is the guy, but his body is not holding up.
— Even with possibility of Jason Worilds starting the regular season on the PUP list, the Steelers have absolutely no plans to move Lawrence Timmons to right outside linebacker if Harrison were to miss time during the regular season. As good as Chris Carter has looked in camp, it’s up in the air whether he’s ready for a starters role.
— Despite dealing with a groin injury all week, the Steelers let starting running back Isaac Redman try to practice yesterday for some reason and he was forced to leave after feeling a sharp pain and also suffered a hip injury. Maybe the Steelers hired the fired Penguins doctors……. Redman and Dwyer are expected to miss Sunday’s game, leaving Baron Batch and Chris Redman as the primary running backs vs Indianapolis Colts.
— The Steelers are preparing Marcus Gilbert for the possibility to start at left tackle in week 1 at Denver but only in an emergency plan if Max Starks suffers a setback and is not ready. Gilbert will make his first start at left tackle this Sunday night.
— Larry Foote is getting rave reviews from Steelers officials behind of the scenes of how explosive he looks in camp. Foote has been showing excellent closing speed against the run and the Steelers haven’t seen him this quick since his first tenure with the team. Foote has halted any talk of Stevenson Sylvester battling for a starting spot next to Lawrence Timmons.
— Since players reported to camp on July 25th, nearly every player the media speaks with has continued to say that “Mike Wallace will be reporting to camp soon.” The holdout is now at 24 days and the same rhetoric continued yesterday. “There’s a little buzz around the team that he’ll be coming back pretty soon, ” Emmanuel Sanders said. “I don’t know the exact date, but it’s looking pretty good.”
The Steelers have been certain that Wallace wouldn’t be reporting before the team broke for camp. One rumor making the rounds yesterday though was that Wallace told a few teammates he is considering signing his tender this weekend and being on the sidelines Sunday night as a spectator.
The sense I’ve been getting from Steelers officials for a few weeks now is that they feel Wallace would not report until late next week at the earliest as the Steelers feel Wallace plan has been to avoid playing in the first three preseason games.
Todd Haley chimed in on Wallace yesterday. “I haven’t heard anything factual or anything that sounds solid, so we’ll continue to coach the guys who are here,” Haley said. “But I am looking forward to seeing him, hopefully soon rather than later.