Thursday, August 8, 2013
Injuries are now hitting Steelers tight ends
By Jamison Hensley
Everyone knows playing in the NFL can be dangerous. But the most dangerous position in the AFC North seems to be tight end.
Just like the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers are now without two top tight ends. Matt Spaeth, who is considered the No. 1 tight end with Heath Miller (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, was carted off the practice field Wednesday. Coach Mike Tomlin offered no update on Spaeth on Thursday.
"He's being evaluated in Pittsburgh," Tomlin said.
Spaeth, who was re-signed by the Steelers this offseason, had just returned to practice after having his knee drained. While the Steelers would prefer to have Spaeth available, David Paulson is the tight end who is going to really replace Miller if Miller's not ready to play at the start of the regular season.
Spaeth's strength is run blocking, and Paulson can make more of an impact in the passing game, especially in the red zone. The Steelers have yet to give a timetable on Miller, who is on the PUP list along with tight end David Johnson.
Without Miller and Spaeth, the only healthy tight end with any extensive NFL experience is Paulson. A seventh-round pick from a year ago, Paulson made seven catches for 51 yards in 16 games as a rookie.
The other tight ends on the roster are: Jamie McCoy, who has played in one NFL game (last year with Steelers); Peter Tuitupou, an undrafted rookie out of San Jose State; and John Rabe, an undrafted rookie from Minnesota.
The Steelers are unlikely to get any sympathy from the Ravens, who are without Dennis Pitta (hip) and Ed Dickson (hamstring).