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Former Detroit Lion tight end Eric Ebron eager to start over in Pittsburgh

Tight end Eric Ebron carries his son as he leaves the field following the Colts’ game against Jacksonville in Indianapolis in November 2018. (AP file photo)

PITTSBURGH — Eric Ebron isn’t worried about Ben Roethlisberger’s surgically repaired right elbow. The same goes for Ebron’s balky ankle, which the newly signed Pittsburgh Steelers tight end said had “a whole lot of mess” in it before getting cleaned up in December.

While Ebron acknowledged he wouldn’t quite be ready to go if the season started this week, he quickly pointed out that it doesn’t. And when it does — whenever that might be — he’ll be ready.

“(Steelers coach) Mike Tomlin pretty much told me that he was going to put me in the best possible situation to succeed,” Ebron said Thursday, about a week removed from signing a two-year deal with the team. “There’s no other thing you want as a player that’s coming into pretty much prime of my career. I’m 26 years old, no better situation to be than where they’re going to use you to the best of your ability.”

Ebron has frequently tantalized during his first six seasons. He served as a security blanket of sorts for Matthew Stafford in Detroit from 2014-17, then caught 13 touchdown passes — tied for second-most in the NFL — and made the Pro Bowl in 2018 while collaborating with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. Luck’s retirement near the end of the 2019 preseason, combined with ankle issues that wouldn’t go away, saw Ebron’s production drop precipitously last fall. He finished with 31 reception for 375 yards and three scores before shutting himself down in late November.

Ebron initially tweaked the ankle in early August and kept waiting for it to get better. It didn’t.

Colts tight end Eric Ebron reacts during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 22 in Indianapolis. (AP file photo)

Ebron is embracing a fresh start in Pittsburgh. A chance encounter with Roethlisberger in January may have planted the seed. The two were at a conference when their paths crossed.

Colts tight end Eric Ebron, left, makes a catch in the end zone over Miami Dolphins defensive back Steven Parker during the first half in Indianapolis on Nov. 10. (AP file photo)

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