Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: TE Pat Freiermuth
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth has not practiced either Wednesday or Thursday while in the concussion protocol, which strongly indicates that he will not be available for Sunday’s game, set to miss the first game of his career.
Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding, this stock evaluation is related purely to Pat Freiermuth’s status for Sunday’s game, and the fact that he has not practiced so far this week is a really bad sign that he will be able to play on Sunday.
Typically, you expect a player who has suffered a concussion to practice at least two days during the week, with the second day being pivotal in demonstrating that he had no adverse effects from the exertion.
When you’re dealing with a rookie, it’s especially important to get that practice time in, something head coach Mike Tomlin often talks about, and so it’s really hard to picture Freiermuth suiting up against the Kansas City Chiefs, even if he is able to be a limited participant today.
But that’s not the worst thing in the world. This is already the second concussion that he has suffered this year, and his long-term health must be placed at a higher priority. If he misses a game, but it helps shield him from a recurrence, then so be it.
Freiermuth did not have to miss a game following his first concussion, and practiced every day of the week, so it’s another bad sign in contrast that he hasn’t been on the field.
With that being said, we did hear shortly after the game that he was doing well, according to his brother, and in fact he even drove his family home. Zach Gentry, who would serve as the starting tight end in Freiermuth’s absence, also said on Monday that he was doing well.
Still, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still have a concussion and that he is in a physical state right now to be able to play a football game without excessive risk to his health. At this point, even if he ends up being medically cleared, the coaching staff may still hold him out.