Steelers notebook: Mitchell, Berry will have shoulder surgery, be out 4 months
January 20, 2016 11:05 PM
Mike Mitchell upends Denver's Virgil Green in Sunday's loss. According to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Mitchell will undergo shoulder surgery and will be out for four months.
Mike Tomlin didn't exactly give Landry Jones a ringing endorsement about his backup role. Asked if he was comfortable with Jones as backup, Tomlin said: "Depends on what comfortable is."
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Two Steelers will have shoulder surgery that will keep them out for four months, and several others will have minor surgeries, coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday at his final news conference of the season.
Starting safety Mike Mitchell and punter Jordan Berry will miss the next four months after getting their shoulders repaired. Both could miss offseason training activities and minicamp, but their rehabilitation timeline puts them on schedule to be ready for the start of training camp in late July.
Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier and tight end Matt Spaeth will have minor knee surgery that will require rehabilitation for a number of weeks, Tomlin said. The same can be said for offensive linemen David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert, who are having minor ankle surgery.
Mike Tomlin on the 2015 season
Mike Tomlin wraps up the 2015 season in his final press conference of the season. (Video by Andrew Rush; 1/20/2016)
Running back DeAngelo Williams, who missed the Steelers’ two playoff games against Cincinnati and Denver with a right foot injury, will not require surgery.
Tomlin also said players who were placed on injured reserve after having season-ending surgeries — center Maurkice Pouncey, left tackle Kelvin Beachum, running back Le’Veon Bell and cornerback Senquez Golson among them — are doing well with their rehabilitation and on schedule to return in 2016.
High on assistants
Tomlin said he would like to return his coaching staff intact and said no other teams had called to request permission to speak with any of his assistants. He also had some high praise for first-year defensive coordinator Keith Butler.
“I was impressed with his work,” Tomlin said. “I was impressed with the work of everyone to be honest with you. I haven’t started the minute details of evaluating performances. I’m just giving you a knee-jerk reaction when I say that. I thought he did an excellent job. I thought everyone did an excellent job.”
Down on the fourth round
Tomlin wasn’t complimentary when he was asked about a few of his recent fourth-round draft picks.
When asked if he was confident that cornerback Cortez Allen, the fourth-round selection in 2011 who signed a $25 million contract in 2014, was capable of being an impact player, he said, “I’m not. We’ll see.”
When asked if Allen was in the team’s plans for next season, he said: “We’re just in the very beginning stages of assessing what transpired with us, not only him but all of us, and what we need to do in terms of mapping out a plan moving forward. We haven’t done that yet.”
A couple of other fourth-round picks from the 2013 draft did not get high praise, either. Safety Shamarko Thomas, the 111th player selected, was given an opportunity to start in training camp but was beaten out by veteran Will Allen.
“I thought he did a good job, particularly as a core special-teamer,” Tomlin said of Thomas. “He’s still evolving as a defender. I like his work. I don’t think it’s a lack of effort. We’ll continue to appreciate his efforts as a special teamer.”
Landry Jones, the 115th player selected in 2013, ascended to backup quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger but didn’t exactly receive a ringing endorsement from his coach. Asked if he was comfortable with Jones in the backup role, Tomlin replied: “Depends on what comfortable is.”
Then he was asked if Jones was the backup moving forward: “Depends on what my options are.”
Whether Bruce Gradkowski is one of those options remains unclear. Gradkowski had season-ending shoulder surgery in August and is a free agent.
“I like Bruce,” Tomlin said. “I think more than anything it’s about him getting a level of health and functionality before we have any of those conversations. We will at the appropriate time.”
Tomlin said it’s a big offseason for 2013 first-round pick and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. … Doran Grant, the fourth-round pick last spring, could be a candidate to move from cornerback to safety. ... On his situation at place-kicker with Chris Boswell and Shaun Suisham: “Two very capable kickers is a good problem to have.”... The Steelers signed four more players to futures contracts: safety Jacob Hagen, offensive lineman Brian Mihalik, kicker Ty Long and running back Darryl Richardson.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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