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James Starks to visit Steelers

Starks Getty Images

Last year, the Steelers passed twice on running back Eddie Lacy, opting instead for Le’Veon Bell in round two.  But passing on Lacy may have helped open the door for another tailback in Pittsburgh.

Packers free agent James Starks is available and unneeded in Green Bay.  Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Starks will visit the Steelers on Monday.

Through four seasons, Starks has never rushed for more than 578 in any one year.  But he emerged as the starter during the postseason of his rookie year, starting four games and racking up 315 yards in a sixth-seed run that culminated in a Super Bowl win over the Steelers.

Three Steelers tailbacks have become free agents this week — Jonathan Dwyer, Felix Jones, and La’Rod Stephens-Howling.

The Steelers averaged 3.5 yards per rushing attempt in 2013.  Starks has averaged 4.4 yards for his career; in a backup role last season, he averaged 5.5.

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33 Responses to “James Starks to visit Steelers”
  1. axespray says: Mar 15, 2014 5:28 PM

    His body doesn’t seem able to handle the full load of a franchise back – but he’s a good player when part of a 1-2 punch.

    Good at pass protection, decent hands, rarely fumbles – he’d be good teaming up with Bell.

    Hope he does well in Pittsburgh.

  2. f1restarter says: Mar 15, 2014 5:28 PM

    I would hate to lose Starks. He’s not an every down running back, but is very effective with 10-12 carries per game. A good compliment to Eddie Lacy, who has the brightest future of any running back in the division.

    Unfortunately some team will throw a boatload of money at Starks, not use him properly, and his history of injuries will continue.

  3. amazingguy101 says: Mar 15, 2014 5:29 PM

    Vikings should want him

  4. ravensenvysteelers says: Mar 15, 2014 5:29 PM

    Starks would be a good addition to the roster, a lot more upside than Jones or Dwyer

  5. 52lightsxout52 says: Mar 15, 2014 5:29 PM

    Mike, I wouldn’t exactly characterize Starks as “unneeded” by the Packers. He was a great complement to Lacy in a rotational role last season and I would hate to see him go…

  6. tangysizzl says: Mar 15, 2014 5:37 PM

    I would like to see Starks back with the Pack but we do have Lacy, DuJuan Harris(Mini Lacy) and Johnathan Franklin so I can see why he hasn’t resigned with GB.

  7. jackrabbitz says: Mar 15, 2014 5:46 PM

    Glad they passed on lacy last year.

  8. bobnelsonjr says: Mar 15, 2014 5:46 PM

    Starks is an excellent back up RB and has done well when healthy.

    He is not always healthy.

    He does not avoid contact and is a hard running type that the Steelers prefer.

    If it comes down to dollars and a choice between 2 quality franchises like the Packers and the Steelers, Starks is in a very good position.

    For a 6th round RB looking at his 2nd contract, he is going to do alright.

  9. whatjusthapped says: Mar 15, 2014 5:56 PM

    Ironically, he would be merely taking the same role he had with the Packers, a 2nd power back behind the starter.

  10. blackngold4life says: Mar 15, 2014 6:01 PM

    We have 1 RB.. this dude shouldn’t be allows yo leave the Burgh without a contract

  11. holeinone09 says: Mar 15, 2014 6:33 PM

    Would be a very nice signing for the Steelers. Not sure why they did not pursue Sproules.

  12. teal379 says: Mar 15, 2014 6:41 PM

    I like Starks a lot here in GB. He’s not unneeded – simply put he’s at a spot both on the field and in the hirearchy of Packer FA priority that his deal isn’t going to come immediately.

    James is a solid dude and solid RB. I’d love to have him here but he’s going out to see what’s for him out there. Hope he comes back to GB.

  13. The Red Rifle says: Mar 15, 2014 6:42 PM

    Andy Dalton is better than your team’s QB.

  14. themagicfanguy says: Mar 15, 2014 6:44 PM

    As a pack fan I can say Starks is excellent as a backup getting 10ish touches or as a spot starter, good all-around game. Running style makes him a bit injury prone but that’s what Bell is for.

  15. reggiewhitewasoverratedandoverweight says: Mar 15, 2014 6:45 PM

    When was the last time a Packer running back had 2 good years?

    Every time they get their “back of the future”, he stinks to high heaven the next year or gets injured and then they have no running game and the the “If we only had a running game” excuses come out.

  16. aldante66 says: Mar 15, 2014 7:06 PM

    I like the guy. He didn’t get a lot of work last year but produced when asked to. I too would hate to see him go but if they don’t ask him back its adios.

  17. magicmtndan says: Mar 15, 2014 7:13 PM

    holeinone09 said: Not sure why they did not pursue Sproules.

    Two key reasons:
    1. Sproules was traded to the Eagles. Steelers need all their draft choices especially if Tomlin’s sideline dance costs them one.

    2. $$$

    The Red Rifle said: Andy Dalton is better than your team’s QB.

    Are you Andy Dalton’s mother? Andy Dalton’s next playoff game (if he gets into another) could be his last if he doesn’t WIN. His record sucks in the playoffs so he’s only better than other QBs who haven’t gotten in.

  18. deflateddome says: Mar 15, 2014 7:39 PM

    I would hope the Packers want him. They sign the anchors of the 31st ranked defense in Hawk and Raji, and let the good ones walk away…

    Great for the rest of the North…

  19. icewalker946 says: Mar 15, 2014 7:46 PM

    Starks in the past was a running back that just sort of slowly decided when a hole was open and then plowed ahead for 3 yards as the hole closed up.

    Last year he seemed to hit the holes a lot quicker and ran with some meanness. I think he’s got the right idea how to run in the NFL now; don’t dance before you get to the hole but rather attack it and dance over the smaller DBs trying to tackle you.

    I see him having a better start to the 2nd half of his career no matter where he plays next season.

  20. judsonjr says: Mar 15, 2014 7:49 PM

    I like Starks in the role he was in GB. One weakness is that he is at best an average pass receiver, and is not a good pass blocker at all. If he could block, Kuhn would have been gone from GB last year.

  21. jackfactor says: Mar 15, 2014 7:54 PM

    Everybody in GB loves Starks. He simply cannot stay healthy for a full season which is a shame. Great hands, good blocker, slasher. Would be a 1,000 yard guy but he’s got faulty wheels. Appreciate what he did to end 2010 with a championship.

  22. icewalker946 says: Mar 15, 2014 7:56 PM

    reggiewhitewasoverratedandoverweight says: Mar 15, 2014 6:45 PM

    When was the last time a Packer running back had 2 good years?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Probably 2000-2004 Ahman Green
    Probably 2007-2009 Ryan Grant

    More than likely 2013 & 2014 and beyond Eddie Lacy.

  23. vikescry1 says: Mar 15, 2014 8:31 PM

    starks is a good back when healthy, good luck to him where ever he goes.

  24. raidersin2019 says: Mar 15, 2014 8:43 PM

    Why is this article implying that Leveon Bell is not awesome? I’m not a Steelers fan in any way, shape or form, but I would take Bell in half a heartbeat.

  25. scoobies05 says: Mar 15, 2014 8:55 PM

    he would be a great compliment to bell. that would be a good signing

  26. blackngold4life says: Mar 15, 2014 10:00 PM

    Sproles would have been nice! Probably was asking for too much

  27. thepittsburghkid says: Mar 15, 2014 10:49 PM

    I have always liked this guy. I hope we sign him, it would be a quality addition.

  28. steelcurtainn says: Mar 16, 2014 1:12 AM

    Don’t really want him. Would rather move on to the draft or next free agent.

  29. stellarperformance says: Mar 16, 2014 11:35 AM

    This guy will still have a great NFL career…..with somebody. He’s got all the orientation and injuries and waiting behind him. A very good pick-up. I hope he stays in Green Bay.

  30. troy43mvp says: Mar 16, 2014 2:53 PM

    Fresh, Cheap & Battle Tested. It’s hard to see a down side..

  31. scoobies05 says: Mar 16, 2014 3:43 PM

    I hear the Steelers are looking for cap help to sign their draft picks

  32. zinjaboy says: Mar 16, 2014 9:46 PM

    I hope he stays in GB – very good situational back. A pleasant surprise in the last game of the year against the Bears. Carry average of 4.4 yds. He’d do well supporting Bell in Pitt too. C’mon TT pay the man.

  33. steellady412 says: Mar 17, 2014 3:32 PM

    We could use another “hefty” back; although Bell is the starter…he is also very fragile.

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