Steelers: Will Senquez Golson ever play?

May 26, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson (27) participates in OTA drills at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson (27) participates in OTA drills at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers cornerback and former 2nd round pick Senquez Golson has undergone surgery and will be out for months, again. So are we ever going to actually see Golson play?

The Steelers continue to have tough luck with the secondary. With so much hope heading into this season for the future of the secondary the Steelers were due for a jinx. And they once again received a reality check, courtesy of an injury, courtesy of Senquez Golson.

Let’s start with the big picture background just so we’re all aware why this is so frustrating. As you all know the Steelers have dealt with a sickening amount of injuries over the past few years. But that’s a whole article on its own. They’ve had a particularly vicious string of injuries among young cornerbacks.

So the Steelers had some cap trouble once upon a time (and still do) so they let promising up and comer Keenan Lewis go to New Orleans. This was problematic as Ike Taylor was getting old at the time and has since retired. The Steelers planned to have Cortez Allen, based on like 3 good games in 2012, be the future of Steelers cornerbacks.

Then it began. He was injured in 2013. He played 14 games but struggled with injury, among other things, throughout the season. Then in 2014, after signing his big contract based on 3 games in 2012, he did not play well and was benched. And then third verse, same as the first. Cortez Allen missed all of the 2015 season except one game and was placed on injured reserve.

The Steelers have moved on from Allen. He’s not the only young corner who was held back by injuries, just the most high profile one. The Steelers tried to plan ahead by drafting young corners they could develop into serviceable starters.

2013 5th Round pick Terry Hawthorne was seen on crutches during camp and failed to make the team his rookie year. In the same round in 2014 the Steelers tried again with Shaquille Richardson. Then a bunch of nagging injuries early on got him stuck on the practice squad, and eventually out of the organization.

So in 2015 the Steelers, apparently under the assumption that if you keep drafting corners you will eventually find one that does not get injured constantly, drafted 2 cornerbacks. What do you think happened? If you guessed neither saw the field, you were right.

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Well Grant technically did make it to the active roster for 3 games. So let’s give him credit for that. Although he did have a groin injury during week 17. Most of the year was on the practice squad. But through mere survival Grant, with 0 stats to his name, is the most successful cornerback the Steelers have drafted in the last 5 years.

So how about that Golson guy? Well, he got injured too. Being a second round draft pick he was the highest pick the Steelers made on a secondary player since Bryant McFadden was taken in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft. So hopes were high. But then injury. It was uncertain how serious the injury was at first but Tomlin announced it would require surgery and would end Golson’s season.

Golson’s injury was apparently a torn labrum, and then he had some soft tissue injury he had looked at during the offseason. Both involved the shoulder. The soft tissue issue is supposedly a minor type of injury. The whole shoulder saga is looking somewhat positive. The expected recovery time for this type of surgery can be from 12 weeks to 9 months, depending on several factors.

By this time the shoulder should feel normal though. Relative to other surgeries like those on ligaments it does not appear there is a high risk of the same injury. It’s not good, but it’s not something you can’t fix, not a potential career-ender. This is bolstered by the idea that Golson was “100 percent” prior to camp and possibly several months prior as well.

So you can imagine the collective disappointment of Steelers fans everywhere when it was once again certain Golson would miss the season with an injury that required surgery. This time it was a Lisfranc injury according to Garry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which involves the bones in the foot.

Now a Lisfranc injury has roughly the same recovery time as a torn labrum, roughly, but this is definitely the more dangerous injury. It’s more dangerous, first, for the functional reason that cornerbacks need feet more than shoulders. Second, it can lead to arthritis and if it is not rehabbed and treated correctly can seriously limit mobility.

The Lisfranc injury is a harder one for Golson than last years labrum. On the plus side, they are not directly related. So even though the camp time timing forms a pattern it’s merely coincidence, they appear to be two independent injuries.

One of those injuries has, if we go by the reports out of Pittsburgh, fully healed and recovered. But this one is a much more serious concern. So will we ever see Senquez Golson play? Probably. I’d give it two to one, which might be generous.

That’s based on a few things. First, I’m making the extremely baseless but probably correct shot in the dark prediction that he’ll recover from his foot injury. Second, Golson has 2 years on his contract after 2016 so it’s not do or die time. In fact, if he’s any good this will work in the Steelers favor since they’ll be able to resign him to a new long term contract before everyone knows he’s good, like they did with Brown.

Next: Steelers: The versatility of Sean Davis

Finally, the secondary is really bad. There’s a reason Shamarko Thomas is still on the roster, it’s because they have nothing else. The Steelers are not in a position to be picky. Golson is just a strong a prospect as any other defensive back on the roster so what’s the harm? Might as well let him hang out and see where it goes. The Steelers unfortunately have that luxury.