Steelers to host running back Starks

March 15, 2014

In need of a reliable backup to running back Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers will take a look at Green Bay free agent James Starks.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Starks will meet with the Steelers Monday.

The Steelers are quite familiar with Starks, who turned 28 last month. He started for the Packers in Super Bowl XLV, a 31-25 Green Bay victory over the Steelers, gaining 52 yards on 11 carries. Starks also gained 47 yards on 10 carries in a 38-31 Pittsburgh victory in Green Bay last December while serving as the backup to rookie Eddie Lacy.

Starks (6-2, 218) has gained 1,427 yards in his four-year career. He’s added 45 receptions for 351 yards.

Starks had 493 yards on 89 attempts in 2013 serving as the backup to Lacy, the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

But he’s never been able to hold down a starting job in Green Bay because of injuries.

The Steelers are looking for a capable backup to Bell, their rookie of the year in 2013, when he set a franchise record with 1,259 total yards.

Reserve running back Jonathan Dwyer signed with Arizona last week, and fellow reserves Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling are unrestricted free agents.

Currently, the only other running back on Pittsburgh’s roster is Alvester Alexander, who spent the entire 2013 season on the practice squad.

After signing safety Mike Mitchell, defensive lineman Cam Thomas, safety Will Allen, long snapper Greg Warren and center Cody Wallace earlier this week, the Steelers have about $3.5 million in available salary cap space.

Dale Lolley has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1993 after previously working at WJAC-TV and the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, and The Derrick in Oil City. A native of Fryburg, Pa., he is a graduate of North Clarion High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a degree in journalism. He has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1993, and also serves as the outdoors editor. He also is a radio host for Pittsburgh’s ESPN 970-AM, and serves as administrative adviser for the Red & Black, Washington & Jefferson College’s student newspaper.

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