Decision expected this weekend
Four days into free agency, no action from the Pittsburgh Steelers. That could change this weekend as the team has entered the sweepstakes for Chargers running back Mike Tolbert.
As an NFL source confirmed Tuesday afternoon, there is significant interest from Tolbert’s end in playing for the Steelers, telling Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com on Tuesday “He would love to be a Steeler and he’s everything the Steelers are about,” the source said about Tolbert at the time.
Tolbert’s camp has not only targeted the Steelers because of the first class organizationÂ Tolbert would like to be apart of, but also because of the running back situation where Tolbert and his agent went into free agency seeing a prime opportunity with Rashard Mendenhall likely sidelined for most if not all of the 2012 season, and his future with the Steelers up in the air.
In classic Steelers mode, the team waited on the sidelines for a few days to let the market develop, then pursued Tolbert, engaging in talks with Tolbert’s agent Joel Turner in the past 36 hours, sources indicate.
Tolbert who has trimmed his list of suitors to two teams, will make a visit Saturday to an undisclosed team his camp won’t reveal at this time. The Steelers are among the two teams still in the mix but there’s some doubts that the Steelers and Tolbert can make it work financially.
After scouting trips this week, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and GM Kevin Colbert are scheduled to be back in town this weekend.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday eveningÂ Tolbert’s visit will be with the Steelers or the Carolina Panthers who the Tribune reports is the “other team” still in the mix. The San Diego Union-Tribune calls Pittsburgh the “leader” for Tolbert.
A source close to the situation revealed to Inside Pittsburgh Sports Friday night that TolbertÂ is likely toÂ make a decision by the weekend or Monday at the latest. At the start of free agency, Tolbert was believed to be looking for a multi-year deal in the four year range.
Profootballtalk reported on Thursday that the Steelers had $5.8 million in cap space, according to numbers the site obtained from the league.
Tolbert, 26, rushed for 490 yards on 121 carries last season for the Chargers, scoring 8 touchdowns. A big powerful back at 5-foot-9, 243-pounds, Tolbert is extremely versatile and more than a power back. He is excellent catching out of the backfield and had 54 catches for 433 yards and two touchdowns last season.
He’s also a factor on special teams where he led the Chargers with 10 solo special teams tackles.