Throughout the majority of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's NFL career, he's had TE Heath Miller on the field as his proverbial safety blanket -- many of Roethlisberger's classic drives would not have been possible without Miller on the receiving end of those passes. But as we look ahead to the 2013 campaign, it's become a real possibility that the Steelers will have to begin the season without Miller on the field, as he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in Week 16 of 2012.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "no one in the organization" knows when the Steelers will get No. 83 back on the field. If he's not able to play by Week 1, the Steelers have some options for replacing him in the lineup: veteran Matt Spaeth, second-year pro David Paulson or David Johnson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first preseason game of 2012.
In the opinion of ESPN AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley, finding a suitable fill-in for Miller stands out as the Steelers' biggest offseason regret:
Jamison Hensley Offseason regrets in the AFC North "Some have speculated that the Steelers' ignoring of the tight end position this offseason is a sign the team expects Miller to be ready for the start of the season. Miller, who had a resurgence in Todd Haley's first season as offensive coordinator, tore knee ligaments late in the season and had surgery Jan. 2. The last word on Miller came in late May, when there was a report he was running 100-yard sprints. Still, it's unknown whether Miller will be suiting up for the Sept. 8 opener against the Tennessee Titans. The Steelers have put themselves in a predicament if Miller is sidelined for an extended period. The Steelers signed Matt Spaeth in free agency, but he's a run-blocking tight end. He has averaged eight catches per season. The only other tight end with any experience is David Paulson, who had seven catches last season as a rookie. This combination isn't going to replace Miller's 71 catches and eight touchdowns from a season ago."