The Steelers have been short on outside linebackers during training camp and the preseason, but they will have two more to work with during practice leading into the season opener.
James Harrison and Jason Worilds have both been activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list that they have called home since the start of camp. The move means that both players are now free to begin practicing and playing in games and it also suggests that both players will be able to do just that in the next few weeks. Post-activation, neither linebacker is eligible for the reserve/PUP list that would keep them out for at least six games while allowing the Steelers to fill their roster spots with other, healthier players.
That shows confidence in their readiness, given how long the injuries have hung around. Worilds had what he called a “cleanup” procedure on his wrist, but wound up missing a significant amount of time. Harrison’s knee bothered him all offseason before he finally had it scoped two weeks ago. Both men have consistently vowed to be ready to play Week One and appear to be on track, but any setbacks would again leave the Steelers short at the position. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two men splitting time at the position in the early going to limit the possibility of such a setback occurring.
Harrison and Worilds aren’t the only Steelers coming off injuries with uncertain short-term outlooks. They activated running back Rashard Mendenhall and defensive tackle Casey Hampton amid uncertainty about when they would be fully prepared to get back on the field and it’s believed Mendenhall will be out for several weeks of the regular season.