Stephon Tuitt was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He experienced playoff football in each of his first four seasons until the team failed to reach the postseason in 2018.
Do you know how many teams in the NFL right now can claim to have drafted a player in 2014 and had him experience playoff football in each of his first four seasons? Two. The Steelers and the New England Patriots. That’s it. That’s one of the reasons the failure to make it back there this past season has been particularly bitter. It had become expected, as is the standard to which the Steelers aspire to hold themselves.
Tuitt talked about exactly that during a recent interview for the team’s website as he sat down with Missi Matthews to look back on the year that was and that which is yet to come. “This is my first time not being in the playoffs, so it’s definitely disappointing”, he said.
“Any time life hits you in different type of ways you have to be prepared. I’m not gonna let this hold over my head. I’m gonna make sure we come back into next year with a vengeance to get back to where we know we need to be”.
One thing the Steelers should not lack for is fire. While they have been able to make the playoffs in four consecutive years, every one of those seasons has ended bitterly, not just because they lost, but because of how they lost. To the Baltimore Ravens in 2014. To the Denver Broncos in 2015. To the Patriots in 2016. Then to the Jacksonville Jaguars a year ago.
The team is looking at tinkering things here and there, though evidently changes will not be as dramatic as many hoped, Keith Butler’s job as defensive coordinator seemingly safe. At a certain level, though, it comes down to individual players winning their individual matchups.
That’s the first thing a player like Tuitt or Cameron Heyward will tell you, and I have no doubt they’ll be focusing on their own game this offseason. I know a lot of people are still down on Tuitt after he signed his extension, but I still think he has a bright future, and growth potential.