Starks prepared to part ways with Steelers
Max Starks planned on spending a football-free weekend at Churchill Downs with his stylish tan fedora hat perched on top of his head and enjoying his first Kentucky Derby.
Well, the football-free part of the weekend didn't actually go as planned.
Starks had a “couple of conversations” over the weekend with a few NFL organizations, including a brief telephone conversation with the Steelers, and is anticipating getting a deal done with a team before organized team activities kick off around the league in two weeks.
One thing has become clear to Starks over the past couple days: He won't return for a 10th season with the Steelers.
When the Steelers added veteran tackle Guy Whimper on Monday, it signified the end of Starks' time with the Steelers, or that's how Starks viewed it.
“Let me say this, (Starks and the Steelers) had a conversation prior (to the Whimper signing), and that decision (to sign Whimper) was made after our conversation,” Starks said.
“Now it wasn't said directly to me, but you kind of take that as an indication of what they are thinking. It is not so much on my part as more of them wanting to move on.”
Unlike the two previous times the Steelers appeared to part ways with Starks — right before training camp in 2011 and again following the season that year — this one likely will stick for a couple of reasons.
• The Steelers are comfortable and feel the need to move forward with recent consecutive-year second-round picks Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams at both tackle spots.
• Unlike years past, Starks isn't coming off an injury, making him a valuable commodity.
“(The Steelers) feel that age is the greatest indicator,” Starks said. “Of course, I don't believe that.”
The best-case scenario for the Steelers always was to sign Starks to provide depth and experience at a position where it is greatly needed.
After the starting five offensive linemen, the Steelers' 10 backups on the 90-man roster have 27 career starts with 22 of them coming from Whimper. Seven of the 10 backups are either rookies or first-year guys with all of them being undrafted.
At 31 and feeling “the best I've felt over the past five years,” Starks doesn't view himself as a backup.
“After playing 100 percent of the snaps the previous year, I don't think I am, at this point, ready to be a backup swing tackle guy just yet,” Starks said. “I have proven over the past couple years that I am still starter-capable.”
Starks started 96 games since being the third-round pick of the Steelers in 2004. Starks played all 1,086 offensive snaps last year —the only player on the team who did — despite coming off a torn ACL nine months prior.
“They want Marcus and Mike to start, and I understand that,” Starks said. “Anywhere I go, as long as I have the opportunity to compete for the starting job, I am happy. I don't want to come in and them say that I am just a backup for depth purposes. If you give me the opportunity to compete on an even basis, I am more than happy.”
Starks visited the Chargers on Wednesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Starks also didn't rule out coming back to the AFC North. With Cincinnati re-signing Andre Smith to go along with veteran Andrew Whitworth and Baltimore bringing back Bryant McKinnie to pair with Michael Oher, that leaves only Cleveland.
“There is a lot of interest out of there,” Starks said. “It is definitely heating up.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Steelers notebook: Ravens enter short-handed at tight end
- Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
- ‘Big play’ moniker fits veteran Steelers cornerback Gay
- Steelers notebook: Fully healthy, rookie WR Bryant progressing fast
- Steelers notebook: No reminders needed that Ravens are next foe
- Steelers’ prime-time games shrink attendance at Heinz Field
- Roethlisberger’s performance arguably among NFL’s greatest
- Steelers notebook: Offensive lineman Adams returns to reserve role
- Greene expects Steelers jersey retirement ceremony to get emotional
- QB Roethlisberger, Steelers roll past Colts in record-setting game
- Steelers look ahead vs. Baltimore Ravens: All John Harbaugh does is win