A month ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers probably thought the team was pretty much set at wide receiver. Now it seems like there are nothing but question marks everywhere you look. [intlink id=”34″ type=”category”]Hines Ward[/intlink] has finally fox-trotted back to practice but he’s coming off his worst season since his rookie year. And who knows how much gas learning the jitterbug took out of his tank. [intlink id=”81″ type=”category”] Emmanuel Sanders[/intlink] is still hobbling around after having both his feet operated on. Antonio Brown made some big catches in the playoffs but caught only 18 balls during the regular season.
Who will step up if one or more of those players falter? Who will be the unexpected hero?
[intlink id=”81″ type=”category”]Remember Limas Sweed?[/intlink]
While most of the team was busy filming the latest Batman movie, the Pittburgh Steelers’ coaching staff spent the weekend kicking the tires of former New York Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery. He left Latrobe yesterday without a deal. This on the heels of two weeks of whispering sweet nothings into the ear of Plaxico Burress. Ironically, Plax signed with Gang Green which is what led to Cotchery’s release.
Which leaves the team back at square one. As much as I dislike Bruce Arians’ Flying Circus, the NFL is still a passing league. The Steelers need to be four or five deep at receiver just to keep up. By my count, they currently have maybe two sure things with little help out there in free agency. Unless former Pitt Panther Antonio Bryant or former Bungle TJ Houshmandzadeh tickle your fancy.
Over the past week, the local papers have been written stories talking up Limas Sweed. You may recall, Sweed was the team’s second round pick back in 2008. A 6’4 200 pound leaper out of Texas, Limas was the answer to [intlink id=”14″ type=”category”]Ben Roethlisberger[/intlink]’s desire to add a big target to the passing game. While Hines wiped away tears over the perceived slight, the Steelers thought they hit the jackpot. Sweed had a first-round caliber junior year, then saw his stock drop faster than yesterday’s Dow after he played his senior campaign with a broken wrist.
Sweed’s rookie year was nothing short of a disaster. He only had a few moments to shine and seized those moments by clutching air as perfectly thrown balls fell harmlessly to earth. The next year, he was bypassed by [intlink id=”82″ type=”category”]Mike Wallace[/intlink] faster than The Flash can run the forty. Toward the end of the year, the team placed him on the Non-Football Injuries list due to extreme depression. He came to camp last year with renewed vigor, even changing his number in hopes of warding off bad karma. Unfortunately, you can’t undo the voodoo. He tore his Achilles three days in to mini-camp and was done for the year.
I know this sounds insane but Sweed has the physical tools to be a good NFL player. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. Before anyone says, “Yeah, good luck with that,” remember, the NFL is littered with such stories. If Limas Sweed wants to be anything more than an answer to the question of biggest draft busts in Steeler history, his opportunity is now. Let’s hope he not only seizes the chance but manages to hold on to it as well.