Football in shorts season for the Pittsburgh Steelers is now over as the team wrapped up their 2017 mandatory minicamp practices on Thursday. While it’s not huge news, Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt was reportedly present for the team’s Thursday practice after apparently not being spotted on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Chris Bradford of The Beaver County Times.
While some seem to be wildly speculating that Tuitt not being around on Tuesday and Wednesday was somehow related to his current contract situation, personally, I don’t believe that’s the case. For all we know, Tuitt had an excused absence from head coach Mike Tomlin or perhaps he needed to visit the doctors concerning his surgically repaired finger that has prevented him from practicing this offseason.
Tuitt, who is now in the final year of his rookie contract, is one of a few Steelers players that figure to receive new contracts prior to the start of the 2017 regular season with running back Le’Veon Bell and tackle Alejandro Villanueva being the other candidates. Tuitt, however, isn’t likely to get his new contract until after the team reports to Latrobe for the start of training camp in late July, but that’s not to say that a new deal cant be consummated before then.
Last week, Tuitt indicated that the current plan is for him to be ready for the start of training camp.
“Yeah, we did what we did to be ready for training camp,” Tuitt explained. “That’s the goal, we’re doing everything in our power to make sure that’s the goal at the same time, too.”
Tuitt was asked during that same interview if he feels unfortunate that he’s having to deal with his current injury now that he’s in a contract year.
“No, I’m not unfortunate,” Tuitt said. “It’s just a finger, to be honest.”
For now, we’ll have to take Tuitt’s word that he’ll probably be ready for the start of training camp. If, however, that winds up not being the case, there’s a good chance he opens up the team’s yearly journey to Latrobe on the Active/PUP list until he’s given the green light to resume practicing fully.