Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt was back with the team this week at the start of training camp as it’s still been less than two months since it was reported that his brother had had been tragically killed after being struck by an oncoming vehicle after trying to secure a mattress on the top of his car. With Tuitt now back with his teammates again, his longtime teammate, defensive tackle Cameron Heyward was asked after Thursday practice to comment on how Tuitt is doing now and how the team is going about supporting him upon his return.
“He’s getting better, but that’s not something that happens overnight and something that ever goes away,” Heyward said of Tuitt. “So, you know, it’s up to us to just be there for him. You know, be someone he can talk to. And you know, Tuitt’s just getting back up to speed. You know, everybody’s moving at their own pace, but we understand that it’s been a bit of a grieving process and we just want to make sure we take him under our wing.”
The Steelers defensive captain had more to say about Tuitt and the difficult ordeal he and the rest of his family went through recently.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Heyward said. “I think for us, we just wanna make sure we keep him around. You know, it’s not easy losing a loved one, especially the way it happened.”
Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler also commented on Tuitt during his Friday press conference.
He’s our starter,” Butler said. “He always will be our starter. I feel bad for him in terms of what happened to his mother and him. I mean, that’s horrible. My brother died four years ago and it’s always tough to lose a member in your family. Stephon handled it probably like I’d handle it too. Very tough, ridiculously hard. He’s got to take care of his mom. She lost a son. I’m not worried about it. I’m not worried about him; I think he’ll be okay. When time comes to play, he’ll be ready to play.”
While Tuitt is now back with the team at training camp, it sounds like he will be eased into things as the summer progresses as he might need extra time to get conditioned properly and back into football shape after missing most of the team’s offseason practices due to his brother being tragically killed.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” Butler said of Tuitt. “Can he go out there and play right now? I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see when we get in pads. All this stuff is based off what we see in pads. We’re running around in shorts right now. Everybody looks good in shorts.”