View Full Version : Starks Is Back & Looking Better Then Ever

10-05-2011, 06:58 PM

“As awesome as my wedding was, it was probably a bad thing for some of the guys. The coaches and some people got to see how big some of them got. It was a difficult offseason. Nobody really knew how to prepare. But at the end of the road, he’s here.” -- Ben Roethlisberger

PITTSBURGH – It was nearly the size of a royal wedding, and so was Max Starks.
The Steelers’ offensive left tackle showed up at Ben Roethlisberger’s wedding weighing an estimated 400 pounds, and he mingled with the likes of Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, Bruce Arians and Sean Kugler.

Yes, the team’s offensive braintrust was there, and it was July 23. Less than a week later, the team was to report to Latrobe for the start of training camp, and it came a little too quickly for Starks. Or at least the braintrust saw it that way. They cut Starks on reporting day.

“I wasn’t no further out of weight than any other offensive lineman that came into camp,” Starks countered Wednesday from the familiarity of the Steelers’ locker room.

Tuesday night, the Steelers had signed Starks to a one-year vet-minimum contract. The signing took place nearly 48 hours after their $100 million quarterback needed crutches to limp away from another savage beating behind a patchwork offensive line.

The Steelers could obviously watch the carnage no longer, so they swallowed their pride and signed Starks.

He was back. And he was not bitter.

He explained his release this way: “It really came down to salary cap.”

Starks was due to make $6.575 million this season. He also was coming off a neck injury that sidelined him for half of last season. The cherry on top was that he was overweight, so the Steelers cut him.

“When I didn’t get the opportunity, found out I was released, I took it as a learning opportunity,” Starks said. “I wasn’t bitter. I didn’t sit in the corner and cry ‘Woe is me’ and be bitter when I was walking around the city. I just said, ‘Well, what do I need to do to re-tool, re-fashion, get myself ready?’ I just went out to Arizona and started doing the same normal training regimen I normally do. It felt good.”

It also gave his neck more time to heal. And while Starks worked in the Arizona heat, the Steelers’ line performed abysmally.

Through four games the Steelers are averaging 3.7 yards per carry and are taking 3.5 sacks per game. Willie Colon went down for the season. Jonathan Scott went down for a week and counting. The only healthy Steelers tackles are rookie Marcus Gilbert and some guy named Jamon Meredith. And now there’s Starks, who’s never looked fitter at 350 pounds.

“Lot of whittling,” he explained of his rapid weight loss.

Starks also explained that on his first day, in his first practice in 11 months, he took half the snaps with the first-team offense at left tackle.

Will he stay there through Sunday’s game at Heinz Field against the Tennessee Titans?

“I hope so,” Starks said. “We’ll see when they grade the film

NW Steeler
10-05-2011, 07:08 PM
For the sake of keeping Ben from getting killed, I hope he's starting at LT on Sunday.

10-05-2011, 07:18 PM
For the sake of keeping Ben from getting killed, I hope he's starting at LT on Sunday.

As soon as he misses a block fans will be screaming for someone else.

10-05-2011, 07:34 PM
WTF is wittling. Anyway... Its good to get Starks back. Its a damn shame how cheap we are when it comes to protecting a franchise QB who holds the ball to extend plays.

NW Steeler
10-05-2011, 07:44 PM
For the sake of keeping Ben from getting killed, I hope he's starting at LT on Sunday.

As soon as he misses a block fans will be screaming for someone else.

I doubt that ANYONE could play much worse than who has been out there so far. Freeney is a good player, but he absolutely dominated Scott. At least Max has held his own most of the time. I'm glad they cut him as he wasn't worth that type of money. No one else wanted him, so you would think he'd play his azz off to get that new contract.

10-05-2011, 08:25 PM
i hope he truely is better than ever, Ben needs it right now

10-05-2011, 08:29 PM
But can he play LT?

10-05-2011, 09:15 PM
Steelers re-sign veteran OL Max Starks
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=a ... ers-starks (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-steelers-starks)

PITTSBURGH (AP)—Max Starks(notes) was getting ready to head to training camp in late July when the Pittsburgh Steelers called and told him not to bother.

The veteran offensive lineman didn’t take getting cut for salary cap purposes personally. He knew he was expensive. He knew he was coming off a neck injury that cut short his 2010 season and he knew the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl without him.

“It’s not a hard decision to make when you look at it from a professional standpoint,” Starks said.

Neither was Starks’ decision to come back.

The Steelers re-signed Starks to a one-year deal on Wednesday hoping the seven-year veteran can provide depth and leadership to an injury ravaged offensive line that has struggled protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger(notes).

Pittsburgh (2-2) has yet to start the same line combination in consecutive weeks heading into Sunday’s game against surprising Tennessee (3-1). Roethlisberger is limping around on a sprained left foot and the running game has been stuck in neutral.

The quarterback, who will wear a special shoe on Sunday to protect his plant foot, had been urging Pittsburgh brass to give his good friend a call. After watching Roethlisberger get pounded for a fourth straight week in a loss to Houston, they listened.

“It took a little while but we got him back and I’m happy about it,” Roethlisberger said.

So happy he welcomed Starks to his familiar spot in an adjoining locker. Roethlisberger will gladly trade a little personal space for more time in the pocket.

He could certainly use it after spending a month under siege. Even with his uncanny ability to move around in the pocket Roethlisberger has been sacked 14 times and harassed into five interceptions and four fumbles.

Starks’ presence can only help, even if he doesn’t make it onto the field for awhile. With a line starting a rookie (tackle Marcus Gilbert(notes)), a second-year center (Maurkice Pouncey(notes)) and a revolving door at the other three spots Starks’ familiarity with the offense and his easy going demeanor can only help.

Coach Mike Tomlin told the 29-year-old Starks he was signed because “(the team) needed leadership and experience and to fill in when needed.”

How soon that will be, Starks isn’t sure. Wednesday was his first practice in 11 months. A herniated disc in his neck suffered against Cincinnati last year sent him onto injured reserve and put his career in jeopardy.

The Steelers forged ahead without him, the patchwork line helping the team to its third Super Bowl appearance in six seasons.

Starks felt he was on his way back when the lockout happened and he wondered if he’d get the chance to play again. There was a part of him that was OK if he didn’t.

“I had seven great years here, I got to see three great Super Bowls here, I got to participate and win two of them,” he said. “I was like, anybody else would be happy with that career and ready to retire and ready to go off into the sunset but I think I’ve still got a couple more useful years left in my body.”

The Steelers would settle for one at this point.

Starks feels he’s in pretty good shape, adding his neck “feels great” and thinks he’s pretty light on his feet after shedding the excess pounds that piled up during the lockout. The 6-foot-8 Starks feels he’s around his normal playing weight of 345 lbs., even if it’s distributed a little differently than it was a year ago.

“It’s same glob of clay, it’s matter of how you mold it,” Starks said. “It’s a fun feeling.”

And a rare one for a line that’s already lost veteran Willie Colon(notes) for the season with a torn triceps and seen guards Doug Legursky(notes) and Chris Kemoeatu(notes) and tackle Jonathan Scott(notes) all miss at least one start with an injury.

“He’s got fresh legs,” Kemoeatu said. “It’s nice to have a healthy guy like that step in during this time of need.”

Starks talked to several teams and was actually in Detroit when the Steelers called. He understands his surgically repaired neck could be an issue. It might have been during camp, not anymore. He calls the lockout and getting cut “a blessing in disguise.”

He’s as healthy now as he’s been at any time in his career. He has no ego about getting his starting spot back. Nearly a year away from the game has given him a new perspective.

Asked where he sees himself fitting in and Starks just shrugs his shoulders.

“Hopefully you’ll see me out on the field, whether’s it’s on the sidelines or as a swing guy or in the starting role,” he said. “My job is to make sure I plug in and I’m ready to do whatever they need me to do.”

10-05-2011, 11:03 PM
max is right about his assessment of the some of the other OL in the offseason.

jim rome had ryan clark on when camp opened and the guys were going into the cold tub.

colon looked more like jabba the hut

10-05-2011, 11:15 PM
If he ends up playing on Sunday, I just hope that Arians/ Kugler gets him some help over there- step up David Johnson and do some blocking.. Even if its a chip- get it right every time and don't wiff.


10-05-2011, 11:17 PM
After watching Roethlisberger get pounded for a fourth straight week in a loss to Houston, they listened.

I really believe the Steeler front office and coaching staff are top notch and I rarely, if ever, criticize them for the decisions they make. But, waiting 4 weeks before making a move to help protect their 100 million dollar investment, really? 4 weeks? :wft

It was fairly evident after the Seahawk game the offensive line needed some help; but they let Ben get pounded for two more weeks. :?


10-05-2011, 11:29 PM
Sometimes ego gets in the way... On a business stand point, they just thought they were right and didn't want to be realistic. But also, if your OT show up at a wedding and is so out of shape and over 400lbs, I can understnad why they cut him..Cap and all..

Corporate America no matter if its in the NFL or whomever, can sometimes just do some stupid things....I too thought that cutting BOTH Starks and Flozell was a dumb move. I thought at least one of them would be in camp.....

Glad they got it right- even if it took 4 weeks....


10-06-2011, 09:59 AM
If Starks can return to where he was prior to his injury, he is a huge upgrade over anyone else who has played there so far this season.