For some teams, tight ends are nothing more than an extra offensive lineman; someone to block and that’s it. But for most of the league, the tight end has evolved into one of the more dangerous weapons a quarterback has at his disposal. Just ask Tom Brady what he thinks of Rob Gronkowski or how much Tony Romo appreciates Jason Witten.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not a team that has a history of superstar tight end. But for about a decade they had one of the better ones in the league—Heath Miller. When he retired following the 2015 season, the Steelers went out and picked up a guy they thought would fill in nicely.
They stole Ladarius Green from the San Diego Chargers.
RT steelers: Ladarius Green talks about his health, and getting back on the field with his teammates. pic.twitter.com/q5BNTOPNQ7
— Bill Hart (@bhart62) January 20, 2017
Sitting behind Antonio Gates for four years didn’t allow him much of an opportunity to show what he could do. But the Steelers thought they had seen enough to warrant offering him a four-year, $20 million contract.
Was he worth it? Well—he missed eight games with an ankle injury and the last five (including the postseason) because of a concussion. He only played in six games all year and only made catches in five of them. He finished the season with 18 catches for 304 yards and a touchdown.
Worth it? No, of course not. Could he be? The potential is there, but all the potential in the world doesn’t matter if he can’t get on the field and stay on it.
Green has said he hopes to be back with the Steelers again next season. General manager Kevin Colbert has said he expects Green to be back—but he’ll have to pass a physical. If he doesn’t, the team will have to hope Jesse James can continue to develop.