In 1995, cornerback Rod Woodson tore an ACL during Week One. The Steelers kept a roster spot open for him all year, and he returned — amazingly — for the Super Bowl.
To absolutely no surprise, Limas Sweed is no Rod Woodson.
At a time when the Steelers have 80 men on the roster (and actually more, given that rookie draft picks who have yet to sign their contracts don’t count), the Steelers aren’t inclined to keep Sweed around in the hopes of getting him back at some point during the 2010 season, after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The team has announced that Sweed has been placed on injured reserve. He was waived/injured Monday, which exposed his contract to the other 31 teams, none of whom were willing to take him. And so he’ll be unavailable to the Steelers for the entire season.
The Steelers could have placed Sweed on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp, and the Steelers could have kept them there until Week Six, at which time the Steelers would have had a three-week window to allow him to practice — and then three weeks to either activate him or put him on I.R.
At this point, it’s unlikely that Sweed, a second-round pick in 2008, ever will play for the Steelers again. Our guess is that he’ll be traded or released after the season. It’s also possible that he’ll be released from I.R. during the 2010 season, if/when the team believes he has recovered from the injury. The decision would then be subject to a grievance, if Sweed contends he has not recovered.