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mesaSteeler
01-31-2009, 01:40 AM
Left out at left tackle?
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_609645.html#
By Kevin Gorman
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, January 31, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. - After Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers will have to decide whether to bring back the left tackle with a bad back or make a long-term commitment to the one tagged as a transition player.

Where Marvel Smith said this week that he would "love to finish up playing in Pittsburgh," his health is an issue after he was placed on injured reserve in late December when his back acted up for the second consecutive season.

Max Starks, meantime, signed a transition tender only to be a backup to right tackle Willie Colon until Smith was sidelined. Now, Starks says, his preference is "to go where I'm wanted and needed."

With both Smith and Starks unrestricted free agents, the Steelers have yet to determine if they are going to sign one or the other or go in a different direction. There's no question, however, that the team needs someone to protect Ben Roethlisberger's blind side.

"Obviously, this is a pretty good team, and we're going to want to keep it together," Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said. "What combination of that I can't say at this point because we haven't sat down as a staff. You're not going to be able to keep everybody. We'd love to but, realistically, we probably won't be able to keep everybody.

"The losses will be minimal, and the replacements will be capable."

The 38th pick of the 2000 draft and a '05 Pro Bowl pick, Smith's marketability took a hit by his bothersome back. Not to mention that Smith turns 31 in August, and the Steelers elected not to sign five-time All-Pro guard Alan Faneca to a long-term contract at the same age last year.

"I feel wherever I go, I'll have the opportunity to play," Smith said. "I started my career here in Pittsburgh. I'm not real big on change, really. I'd love to finish what I started. The whole time I've been here, we've had a good team. It's a strong foundation, and I believe I'm a big part of it, too.

"I'm looking forward to finding out."

Smith said his recovery is ahead of schedule and believes his return, coupled with right guard Kendall Simmons (Achilles), could solidify a shaky offensive line that features four new starters.

"Next year, we both come back," Smith said, "and it'll be like we've got two first-round picks back on the offensive line."

Then again, there's no guarantee either one will make a full recovery or return to their previous form. Starks was stunned when the Steelers offered a one-year, $6.9 million tender to avoid losing him, only to serve as a backup.

"It's hard to say, because anything can happen. It's just a matter of what the plans are, and the Rooneys never give you a read," Starks said of the team's owners. "I didn't know I was transitioned until the day it happened. I had no indication. The Rooneys are very private individuals. They won't tell you anything until the time is right."

One factor favoring Starks is that he just turned 27 on Jan. 10 and has shown he can play left tackle for a Super Bowl team.

"I guess we'll see what happens in the upcoming month about free agency," Starks said. "That is a big deal with this new market. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what happens, but I want to hold a sticky Lombardi Trophy first."

Kevin Gorman can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.

ben7
01-31-2009, 02:05 AM
Of Colon, Starks or Smith.

silverbackattack
01-31-2009, 02:13 AM
I know I've been hit here before about this but there is no doubt in my mind that Colon has GOT TO GO. And I don't mean Latrobe.

Preacher
01-31-2009, 02:14 AM
I see Smith gone. Starks gets the position. Colon will have to fight next year with a first round pick (I hope, but not likely).

MasterOfPuppets
01-31-2009, 03:20 AM
"Next year, we both come back," Smith said, "and it'll be like we've got two first-round picks back on the offensive line.":rofl:

"The losses will be minimal, and the replacements will be capable."
translatiom - thier not all that....see ya.

steelerdave1969
01-31-2009, 07:18 AM
Where Marvel Smith said this week that he would "love to finish up playing in Pittsburgh," his health is an issue after he was placed on injured reserve in late December when his back acted up for the second consecutive season.

_______________________________

I really think that Marvel Smith has played his last game as a Steelers already. His back has cost the Steelers alot of money the last 2 seasons pretty much for nothing in return.

:helmet:

GBMelBlount
01-31-2009, 08:59 AM
Wow. Smith, Simmons, Colon, etc. Who knows how they'll be next year. I really hope we do something in FA and take a FEW lineman in the draft......and just imagine what we could get if we traded Ben!........... :chuckle:

Give It To Abercrombie
01-31-2009, 09:06 AM
Realistically I think we will sign Starks for LT. Smith will leave. Colon will be replaced by either Hills, a new draft pick or a medium free agent signing. Colon will become a back-up "who can play multiple positions on the line." If there's only one positional change in the O-line for next year, I think it should be Colon. Please.

Hapa
01-31-2009, 09:20 AM
Depends on what their agents say. I just hope the same guys stay so they can gel with the group.

Curtain_of_Steel
01-31-2009, 09:20 AM
Poor Max Starks, sounds like his feelings are hurt.
He should be sending Ben and thankyou card for taking it up the ass every game and taking the blame for every sack. I do not think there is ONE QB in the league who would've done that.
The manning girls would've publically did it every game and have done, McChoke would've, Warner does it now etc etc.

If he thinks after the performance they have had this year the pastures are greener with more than 6.9mill, cya. The only place he will get that i snon playoff teams, so he better respect the fact he has one last opp here, lol.

Colon has got to go, at least help him out and get his hearing checked because he has no clue about the word hike. Stapleton is about as worthless too.
BUT we can not patch this again,. If Mavel can come back, I bet you get him at a discount. I would bring Runyan in as well. The guy is a rock and plays through every injury. and is probably still better than anyone we have. Being planted in PA for the last 8 years, he would welcome that change as the Eagles are unlikely to sign him.

AllD
01-31-2009, 09:47 AM
Keep Smith and say hasta la vista to Starks and Colon. Also time to draft some OL.

Texasteel
01-31-2009, 09:52 AM
Wow. Smith, Simmons, Colon, etc. Who knows how they'll be next year. I really hope we do something in FA and take a FEW lineman in the draft......and just imagine what we could get if we traded Ben!........... :chuckle:


:stirthepot: :headshake:

GodofGridiron
01-31-2009, 12:02 PM
Kemo, Hartwig and Stapleton do a tremendous job in run blocking. Im thinking with a nice FA tackle pickup and a stud 1st rounder OL we can once again get this unit to playing top level in the trenches.

Realize that this is a patchwork offensive line we're working with here in the Superbowl and a testament to the staff (and Ben) on how well they were prepared to take on the leagues toughest schedule and come out 12-4.

GridironWarrior
01-31-2009, 12:11 PM
I wonder if they plan on keeping Kemo. I'd say keep Starks and get rid of Colon. He's got to the dumbest OL in th league.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-31-2009, 12:22 PM
IF Smith is healthy, I like keeping Smith and Colon.....then letting Kemo and Starks walk.

Colon can play LG and hopefully Hills RT. A line of this from left to right would be good by me. Smith, Colon, Hartwig, Simmons, Hills.

That still leaves Stapleton as a reserve and hopefully some draft picks like Alex Mack, Eben Britton and if Smith's contract is friendly enough he can always move back to RT when Britton (or William Beatty) is ready to play LT.

GBMelBlount
01-31-2009, 12:32 PM
IF Smith is healthy, I like keeping Smith and Colon.....then letting Kemo and Starks walk.

Colon can play LG and hopefully Hills RT. A line of this from left to right would be good by me. Smith, Colon, Hartwig, Simmons, Hills.

That still leaves Stapleton as a reserve and hopefully some draft picks like Alex Mack, Eben Britton and if Smith's contract is friendly enough he can always move back to RT when Britton (or William Beatty) is ready to play LT.

Although Colon can be quite feisty, he seems like a huge hole in the line at times, imo.

ben7
01-31-2009, 01:56 PM
I think Starks.

KeiselPower99
01-31-2009, 02:00 PM
No matter who we keep around we have to get a deal done early. Max and Kemo are young guys and will get long deals from someone Im sure and Marvel IF healthy sign him to a 1 yr deal and make him prove his back is better.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-31-2009, 09:42 PM
Although Colon can be quite feisty, he seems like a huge hole in the line at times, imo.

The times are probably 3-4 plays a game. The majority of what Colon does is very impressive, but he isnt tall enough with short arms to play RT. If he moved inside at guard he would be better than Simmons, Kemo or Stapleton.

I honestly dont think Colon is going anywhere. I expect him to get at least a tender offer, if not a 3 year extension in the offseason.