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Rookie second-round pick Mike Adams is the favorite to be the Steelers’ starting left tackle in the season opener at Denver for two reasons: Max Starks hasn’t heard from the Steelers and he likely won’t be ready for training camp.
Starks, who was re-signed in October to stabilize the left side, is still recovering from knee surgery in January. Coming back to the Steelers this season is in doubt.
“I have not had contact with management or anybody like that,” Starks told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I guess eventually I will hear something from them … or maybe not.”
He probably won’t hear from any team until he can prove he’s healthy. Starks, who tore his ACL in the playoff loss at Denver, said it would “be pushing it” to be ready for training camp in late July.
“It is not unfeasible,” he said. “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.”
It’s the right move to see if Adams can play right away. He was given a first-round grade by the Steelers, so it’s not like Pittsburgh is rushing him into the lineup. The biggest question with Adams is his strength.
But the Steelers shouldn’t throw Starks’ number away. If Adams is hurting the offense a month into the season, the Steelers should consider bringing back Starks just like last season. He is a much-better stop-gap option at left tackle than Jonathan Scott, the current backup who was a liability last season as a starter.