The Pittsburgh Steelers placed wide receiver Justin Hunter on their Reserve/Injured list just over a week ago because of a shoulder injury he had suffered in the first half of the team’s Week 13 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. That injury was also apparently bad enough to warrant Hunter needing surgery.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com on Thursday, Hunter, who caught only 3 passes for 21 yards this season in limited playing time, is now set to undergo surgery for a torn labrum, per a source of his.
Hunter suffered that shoulder injury while attempting to dive for an overthrown pass from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone in the first half of the team’s loss to the Chargers. Hunter was wide open on the play yet Roethlisberger still couldn’t connect with the veteran wide receiver.
“I thought I threw a good ball, I really did,” Roethlisberger said last week on his radio show about his missed throw to Hunter. “And I still till this day thought I put it where I wanted to, but it was too far. And I feel bad. I told Justin, because he got hurt on that play, and I feel bad that I wish I would’ve thrown a better ball so that he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”
Hunter signed another one-year contract with the Steelers this year so there’s now a good chance he’s played his last snap with the team. Even if the Steelers were to re-sign Hunter again to another minimum salary benefit contract during the offseason it’s hard to envision him making the final 53-man roster a third-consecutive season.
Hunter, who was originally selected by the Tennessee Titans in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Tennessee, has also since played for the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and ultimately the Steelers. In 2017, his first season with the Steelers, Hunter caught just 4 passes for 23 yards and a touchdown.