ShareThis Page

Starks awaits another chance in NFL

| Saturday, May 19, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
The Steelers' Max Starks back in the fold during practice on the South Side Oct/ 5, 2011. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
The Steelers' Max Starks back in the fold during practice on the South Side Oct/ 5, 2011. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

When the Steelers decided to move Willie Colon to left guard and keep Marcus Gilbert at right tackle, the one person they didn't have in mind to fill the void at left tackle was Max Starks.

The veteran free agent has yet to be contacted by the Steelers, seemingly further solidifying the team's intentions of giving rookie second-round pick Mike Adams every opportunity of winning the left tackle job in training camp.

“I have not had contact with management or anybody like that,” Starks said Friday while on his way to rehab his surgically repaired knee in Phoenix. “I guess eventually I will hear something from them … or maybe not.”

The Steelers seem intent on revamping their offensive line, even if that means doing something they rarely do: Start rookie offensive linemen.

The Steelers have started a rookie up front to open the season three times since the 1970 merger — Tom Ricketts in 1989, Marvel Smith in 2000 and Maurkice Pouncey in 2010.

They could have two — Adams and first-round pick David DeCastro — in the starting lineup Week 1 in Denver.

The Steelers plan to have Adams, Jonathan Scott and Trai Essex battle for the starting left tackle spot during camp.

“As for myself, I don't see (me being a part of that battle) unless there is something I don't know,” Starks said.

Starks likely won't be ready for the start of training camp anyway.

It's been about four months since Dr. James Bradley repaired the ACL Starks tore in his right knee during the wild-card playoff loss to Denver.

“I am pretty good, actually,” Starks said. “I am starting lateral work movement with my ACL, and everything is moving along nicely.”

Starks has a follow-up visit with Bradley soon during which he will get a better grasp on how far along he is. An ACL tear typically carries a nine-month recovery. With that time frame, Starks would be ready close to opening week.

“It would be pushing it to be in training camp,” Starks said. “It is not unfeasible. Athletes push it to be ready in six months, but my mindset is to be ready to play by Week 1. That's a realistic goal for me.”

If Adams doesn't catch on quickly, the Steelers could call on Starks like they did last season.

Starks was cut two days before training camp in a salary dump. After struggling up front during the first month, the Steelers signed Starks heading into Week 5. Starks started the remaining nine games at left tackle and played well.

Starks doesn't know whether, if called upon again, he could replicate last season's performance, mostly because of having a new offensive coordinator in Todd Haley.

“I would need a week or so to get the plays down and the terminology,” Starks said. “It would be a different situation even coming back to the Steelers. I just want to get healthy and play for somebody. I have the mindset of rehabbing and make sure my knee is in the best possible shape and be ready to go when someone calls.”

As for the Steelers making that call?

“If the situation arises, it is something that I would definitely be interested in,” Starks said.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.