Steelers TE Green denies rumors he's suffering from recurring headaches
Ladarius Green isn't retiring anytime soon — the Steelers' $20 million free agent tight end made that quite clear.
As for the reported headaches that have kept him on the physically unable to perform list since the start of training camp, Green didn't necessarily squash that idea, but he didn't endorse it, either.
Speaking for the first time Saturday since an NFL Network report Aug. 11 claimed Green was suffering from headaches possibly stemming from a pair of concussions he suffered during an 11-day span last year while playing for the Chargers, Green reiterated what coach Mike Tomlin said last week — it's the ankle.
“I don't know what reports those are,” said Green, when specifically asked if he was dealing with headaches. “I am still on PUP because of my ankle. I have still be rehabbing on my ankle, so I haven't been dealing with anything else but that.”
It also was reported Green's headaches could get to the point where the Steelers could release him before the season started. Another report claimed Green was contemplating retirement.
Green said it is all untrue, and he expects to get on the field with the Steelers at some point this year.
“I am wondering who said this,” Green said about the reports. “I don't think I spoke about retiring no time soon. I am only 26, so I don't think I am retiring anytime soon. Why wouldn't I be confident about (playing in 2016)? I am optimistic for it, ready for it and still training for it.”
Concussions have been an issue for Green. He suffered two in a span of less than two weeks in September last year. When asked about that in May, Green said it was sinus issues not concussions.
On Saturday, Green backed off the sinus diagnosis.
“Last year I had problems, I don't know what it was,” Green said. “I am not a doctor, so I couldn't tell you. I don't think I am more susceptible (to concussions). I don't think I had bad concussion problems. I had some. My main attention is to get back on the field with my ankle.”
Green has been rehabbing following surgery in January in which he had screws inserted into his ankle. When the Steeler signed Green on the second day of free agency in March, he was expecting to miss all of spring practices, but thought he would be ready for training camp at the end of July.
Instead, he said the ankle has been slow to respond.
“It is still weak,” Green said. “But it is getting a lot better. The ankle still isn't 100 percent yet. It is still not there yet. There is still stuff I have to work on. There is still stuff I am pushing toward, but it is getting better.”
Green said he has been on the field working out daily running routes, blocking and sprinting at full speed, but not being able to get on the field and work with a new quarterback and a new offense is troublesome.
Green was a fourth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2012 but struggled getting on the field. He was stifled behind Antonio Gates in San Diego for four seasons. Even when he was the top tight end during Gates' suspension last year, Green managed only 37 receptions for 429 yards and four touchdowns.
The Steelers figured Green could bring a new dynamic to the offense after the retirement of Heath Miller.
“It is affecting me a lot because I am getting frustrated not being out there with the team and watching them every day, so it is getting pretty tough,” Green said. “I still have to learn mentally and pick up on stuff.”
The Steelers will have to make a decision on Green within the next two weeks. They would have to either activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on regular-season PUP list, which would force him to miss at least six weeks and up to 11 before being placed on injured reserve.
“I am just going to take it day-by-day,” Green said.
Mark Kaboly is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.