The Pittsburgh Steelers announced today they placed rookie offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins on injured reserve. Now, we know exactly why. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Hawkins suffered a torn labrum.
The injury is to his right shoulder. Hawkins originally injured it during the Steelers-Lions joint practice. He aggravated it in the first game, and I bet the Steelers wish they hadn’t had pushed him. He will spend the year on injured reserve and is not eligible to be recalled as part of the updated to-return rules. It was something I specu-feared a week ago.
Hawkins was a pleasant surprise this season, playing far better than most fans expected, and above critic’s expectations after he was drafted. This season was practically a redshirt year for him anyway though losing out on a whole season’s practice reps is a big loss.
It marks the second straight year a rookie has suffered this shoulder injury; Senquez Golson missed all of last year with it in 2015.
Hawkins will look to make the team in 2017. If his play this season was any indication, his odds are good.
He’s the fifth Steelers’ linemen to be placed on injured reserve in the last month. The others: Quinton Schooley, Brian Mihalik, Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, and Cole Manhart.
Chris Hubbard will serve as the team’s #4 offensive tackle for the year. He was in the backup role following Kelvin Beachum’s injury a year ago though only needed to play a handful of snaps, once filling in for Alejandro Villanueva. Ryan Harris is the immediate backup for either spot.