On Sunday, tackle Max Starks will play his 123rd game for the Steelers since they made him their third-round pick in the 2004 draft.
Starks believes that it will be his last as a member of the team. Starks will be a free agent after the season and told Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times that he thinks the team has set up a future plan at tackle that doesn’t include him by drafting Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams the last two seasons.
“Anytime you draft tackles in the second round in back-to-back years, I think it’s their plan to have them as the starting left and right tackles in the future,” Starks said. “That’s their goal. So being a realist, I am not expecting to be back.”
Starks wasn’t expected back in Pittsburgh either of the last two years either. He was released during the summer in 2011 before returning to the team four games into the year and starting the rest of the way. He tore his ACL in the playoffs, leaving him to rehab during the offseason while Adams was pencilled in as the team’s starting left tackle. Starks wound up getting healthy enough to earn a contract from the team, though, and was in position to take over for Adams when it became clear Adams wasn’t ready for the job in the preseason.
Starks has started every game and played well enough to garner some interest from teams looking for help at tackle. Given the way he keeps turning up in a Steelers uniform, however, we’re not sure that he’s as done as he thinks in Pittsburgh.