Last year, Jesse James was a newbie to the Steelers and the NFL. Now, he's their most tenured tight end.
With the retirement of Heath Miller and the release of Matt Spaeth, James — at 22 — is the veteran voice in the tight end room, at least when it comes to tenure with the Steelers.
“It's a new tight end room,” James said. “I am really the only guy who is back. It is a little different, but I feel good about it.”
The Steelers signed Ladarius Green and brought back David Johnson to bolster the position. Xavier Grimble was on the practice squad last year, but wasn't with the Steelers during training camp. Green isn't able to practice at this point and is on the PUP list, so James has a chance to shine and earn some valuable reps in the process.
Miller played 11 seasons for the Steelers (2005-15) after originally being selected by Pittsburgh in the first round (30thoverall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. He started 167-of-168 games played during the regular season, and he started all 15 postseason contests that he played in. Miller’s 168 regular-season games played are the most by a tight end in Steelers’ history.
In team history, Miller is the all-time leader in receptions (592), receiving yards (6,569) and receiving touchdowns (45) by a tight end. Overall, he ranks second in career receptions, fourth in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and sixth in scrimmage yards (6,577) in Steelers’ annals. Miller is one of four players to record 500 receptions, one of five players to record 6,000 receiving yards and one of five players to record 40 receiving touchdowns in team history.
Miller is one of 12 tight ends in NFL history to reach 6,000 career receiving yards, and at the conclusion of the 2015 season, his 592 receptions are the sixth-most in NFL history by a tight end, and his 6,569 career receiving yards are the ninth-most in NFL history by a tight end.
Jesse James is next on the depth chart. James had eight catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets serving as Miller's backup. He played 91% of the snaps in Week 13 against the Colts, registering three catches for 30 yards on five targets.
Jan 08, 2016 · 6:38 PM EST
Steelers TE Heath Miller (not injury related, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 18.
Jan 07, 2016 · 6:15 PM EST
Steelers TE Heath Miller (not injury related) returned to full practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday. Miller just got a veteran’s day off. He’ll be fine for Saturday’s game.