The Pittsburgh Steelers are losing player after player at a position they didn’t have room to work with. Now, they may be relying on a former college star to lead them into the regular season.
Whenever the Pittsburgh Steelers signed former Minnesota Viking, Bucky Hodges, the Still Curtain message board lit up with excitement from writer, Dan Gilliam. Honestly, most of the rest of us forgot who Hodges was.
It’s been a few years since the Virginia Tech star left for the NFL. A quarterback coming into college, the 6’6 257-pound passer moved to tight end after a redshirt season. From there on, he caught at least 40 passes a season, mounting six touchdowns in each of his three years with the Hokies.
Then, Hodges entered the NFL Draft, and the outcome was not what he was looking for. He fell to the sixth-round where he was selected by Minnesota, only to miss the team’s roster. From there, he spent time with the New York Jets, before being released to make room for George Atkinson.
Finally, he ended up in Pittsburgh as a roster hopeful. At best, his expectations where to compete with Xavier Grimble for the third and final spot. Then, Grimble went down with an injury, and Hodges moved into the position at least until the tight end’s return.
Vance McDonald was already missing time, but people expected him to return before the end of the preseason. Today, those hopes have faded, and people are simply looking to have him play at some point this year.
So, it was Jesse James and Hodges running the tight end spot. Well, against Tennessee, James left with a back injury and from the looks of it, could miss more time than expected. Meaning, Bucky Hodges is the man in Pittsburgh.
Maybe it isn’t what they have hoped for, but people need to know who the Steelers starting tight end is heading into the final preseason game. Unless something happens and the NFL gods remove another Steelers’ tight end from the field, Hodges is the clear leader to take on the starting role until further notice.
Not the most exciting name to have in the first-team, but his athleticism and potential remain somewhat high. This could be a blessing in disguise. Or something this team will need to deal with until the injury bug leaves.