Willie Colon’s season came to a halt before it even started last year, when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon on a June 28th workout in Pittsburgh.
Not only did the injury end his season, but it may also have ended his career playing in Pittsburgh.
Entering free agency, Colon’s agent, Joe Linta, has made it clear that the former starting right tackle for the Steelers wants to remain in Pittsburgh but is not sure if the team wants him to return.
“He loves the team and loves the city,” Linta said. “But they have to want him, and they haven't shown that yet.”
It is not necessarily a surprise that the Steelers have shown Colon the cold shoulder.
While the former fourth round selection has started 54 games at right tackle, Colon has never been able to distinguish himself as the top lineman in a relatively weak unit, let alone one of the top tackles in the league.
Colon is not a bad player either; he plays the position above average, but it could be argued that Flozell Adams was an upgrade at right tackle last season, and he is projected to start there again this year.
With rookie Marcus Gilbert waiting in the wings, Colon appears to be the odd man out. But there is always that notion that Colon could move to guard.
Why is there such a sentiment to move him there? His body-type.
Colon is 6’3” 315 pounds and has relatively short arms for a tackle. He is a powerful run blocker, and his problems with speed rushers would no longer be an issue playing inside.
Some may question as to whether or not Colon has enough athleticism to play the position. Here is a simple answer: Pittsburgh has started both Trai Essex and Ramon Foster at right guard, neither of which moves extremely well.
Another question is his experience. Colon has not lined up at guard since joining the Steelers. However, prior to being drafted in 2006, many scouting services had him projected as a guard.
Colon is willing to try guard as well.
“I'm not against it,” Colon said, “but nevertheless, I feel like I'm a right tackle. We pull (left guard) Chris (Kemoeatu) so much that if I was to move to guard, I know I could add some balance. However, my heart is at tackle. I love the challenge of playing out there.”
Tackle is the bigger challenge but coming off of a major leg injury, you take the opportunity provided to you.
If healthy, should Steelers re-sign Willie Colon?
“You wouldn't even know anything's wrong with him,” Roethlisberger said.
Granted practicing is different game situations, but it is encouraging that Colon feels that he is in good health.
“When I've got to go against (LaMarr) Woodley and some of those other guys, then I will know where I'm exactly at,” Colon said, “but right now, I feel great.”
A healthy Colon competing at right guard would put the Steelers in a rather good position on the offensive line.
He would join Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, Adams at right tackle, Kemoeatu at left guard and Max Starks returning at left tackle to form what would appear to be the best Steelers offensive line in years.
Colon would be a low-risk, high-reward player as the Steelers could probably sign him to a rather inexpensive one-year deal, which would allow Colon to prove himself. According to Rotoworld, Colon would be willing to take a substantial hometown discount to remain in Pittsburgh.
If it doesn’t work out he could potentially back up either tackle spots or even get released.
Either way, Colon is worth the risk of a one-year deal. He would appear to be an upgrade at right guard and would really help solidify the interior of the line and if it is not with the Steelers, Colon will help another NFL team.
“Being a Steelers is an honor in itself but with that said my goal is just to flat out be the best football player I can, if not for the Steelers then somebody.”
The hope is that he is being the best guard he can be with the Steelers.
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