| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Long road back awaits PSU's Mauti

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn State Nittany Lions senior linebacker Michael Mauti (42) is consoled by his father Rich Mauti as he is carted off the field after he suffered a knee injury against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium in University Park on November 17, 2012. Penn State defeated Indiana 45-22.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Alan Robinson
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 7:09 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Steelers have already had a hand — make that two hands — in Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti's comeback from his third major knee injury.

Mauti disclosed at the NFL Scouting Combine that he is recovering from his third torn anterior cruciate ligament tear in five years and his second reconstructive left knee surgery. The operation was performed by James Bradley, the Steelers' orthopedist.

Before the combine, Mauti declined to reveal the exact nature of the injury that sidelined the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year during Penn State's next-to-last game of the season.

Mauti, the son of former NFL wide receiver Rich Mauti, went through a knee recovery grading process at the Combine, but he does not know the results.

“I'll find out over the next several months,” he said.

A player whose leadership, character and intensity personified Penn State's on-field rebound from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and an 0-2 start to go 8-4 under first-year coach Bill O'Brien is certain what the injury will mean to his career.

“There's no doubt in my mind I'll be able to play at the same level again,” Mauti said. “I think people understand that I've responded to an injury like this. Last year I was coming off an ACL, (and) I had an All-American season, so I've proven I can do that.”

Mauti took a medical redshirt in 2009 after tearing his right ACL.

Mauti hopes that by attending the off-field sessions in Indianapolis — he is not close to being able to go through the on-field drills — he can help convince NFL teams he is worthy of being drafted.

Before the injury, Mauti was projected to go as high as the second round.

No doubt aware that NFL teams will be wary of devoting even a seventh-round pick to a player with a long history of bad injuries, Mauti wrote to all 32 NFL general managers emphasizing what playing in the league meant to him.

The letter must have had a positive effect; he's already gone through more than six hours' worth of personal interviews with teams.

“There's a lot of rumors flying around, a lot of misinformation. We just wanted them to hear from me, and where my mind is at about getting back,” Mauti said. “I'm going to put myself in a situation to be healthy and play in the fall. … I got some good feedback.”

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was among those receiving the letter, and Mauti interviewed with linebackers coach Keith Butler.

Mauti credits O'Brien, previously the Patriots' offensive coordinator, for helping him understand life in the NFL.

“More than I could ever imagine. … How things work in the NFL. How a brilliant pro offense works in different scenarios, different situations,” Mauti said. “How to play good defense in different games, stuff like that, matchup issues. So much about football and just about organization and running a program.”

Linebackers and defensive linemen took part in the weight lifting portion of the combine Sunday, but the injury prevented Mauti from participating.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  2. Inside the Steelers: Ventrone suffers right ankle injury
  3. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  4. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
  5. Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
  6. IOC urges US to come up with another bid city for 2024 Games
  7. Steelers notebook: Rookie CB Golson still dealing with left shoulder pain
  8. Steelers’ Brown arrives in style, vows to be ‘the best in the world’
  9. Rossi: St. Vincent a football sanctuary during Steelers training camp
  10. Steelers tackle Beachum braces for competition along offensive line
  11. Butler, Steelers defense take on new challenges