What started out as speculation at the beginning of this week has become totally true. Linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu are officially out for this week’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders.
Harrison is still slowed down by his injured knee, while Polamalu is sitting out his second consecutive week with a calf injury.
In addition, running back Rashard Mendenhall will be out as well, but his absence was expected.
What wasn’t expected was Harrison’s hiatus from the game for something that was said to be minor in the offseason, and Polamalu’s inability to practice for two straight weeks.
I’m definitely on the verge of saying what I was reluctant to say all offseason. It seems that Father Time is starting to get a firm grip on the Steelers.
The only good news for this week is that Pittsburgh will face a 0-2 Raiders teams that still hasn’t found their rhythm in this early part of the season. Furthermore, the Steelers will greatly benefit from their Week 4 bye with all of these injuries.
If by chance Harrison and Polamalu aren’t ready to return to the field after their bye week, then I would say that Pittsburgh could push the panic button. The potential absence of two players who were once named defensive player of the year may hurt the Steelers’ chances of making the postseason.
I honestly don’t see quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offense carrying the entire team the whole season, especially with a shaky offensive line and running game.
However, if Pittsburgh can shake this injury bug as soon as possible, then they will still be legitimate playoff contenders.
One thing can be taken from these lingering injuries. Pittsburgh has to highly consider adding more youth to their roster this upcoming offseason. The Steel City can’t afford to take the chance of starting another season with veteran players that will be a year older, and not having any young blood waiting in the wings.
The Steelers’ preparation for the future is far overdue.
Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller