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Max Starks keeps returning for Pittsburgh Steelers

If the Pittsburgh Steelers had their way, Max Starks would be ancient history by now.

They've made several attempts to slide him out of the picture in recent years, but each time Starks re-emerges. He's the Jason Voorhees of Pittsburgh's offensive line. Unkillable.

Starks rehabbed back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, got re-signed in July, then beat out rookie Mike Adams despite the Steelers' public proclamation that Adams was the franchise's future at left tackle. For the second straight season, he's playing a premium position while earning the league minimum.

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"I never felt unwanted," Starks said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I never looked at it as being unwanted. I realize it's a business, and a lot of people make decisions. You can't affect those decisions, you can either let those decisions confuse you and use it as a crutch to say, 'Oh, they're picking on me, they don't like me, why do they do this and why do they do that?'

"Me, I just said there's an opportunity to get better at something else while I have the opportunity. I think I've constantly proven that. I have a work ethic and I know I have value, if not here then in the league in general. It just so happens, I've played for the same team."

The Steelers might not show Starks much respect, but they need him more than ever. Adams' struggles and rookie David DeCastro's serious knee injury have blown up the Steelers' makeover plans on the line.

If Pittsburgh wants to keep Ben Roethlisberger healthy, Starks will need to earn every penny of that league minimum.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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