We still don’t have an answer on whether or not Stephon Tuitt will be playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022. But we do have an update.
Kevin Colbert spoke to local media Monday and confirmed the team has spoken with Tuitt while remaining open to his return to the team.
From WPXI’s Jenna Harner.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert on Stephon Tuitt:
Stephon had a tough season last year, battling through a knee injury. He obviously had a personal situation he had to deal with. We just hope for the best as he tries to come back, and be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers
— Jenna Harner (@JennaHarner11) February 21, 2022
And more from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
Kevin Colbert on Stephon Tuitt’s availability: Been in contact with Stephon. Open to continuing to help him, continue to evaluate that position and his availability to us.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 21, 2022
Nothing Colbert said Monday appears to confirm Tuitt playing or not playing next year. But Colbert did outline exactly what Tuitt dealt with, the offseason death of his brother followed by a summer knee surgery. It’s still hard to know which situation was the main reason behind Tuitt missing the entire year, but both likely played a part.
Last month, Team President Art Rooney II said the team would be talking with Tuitt in the coming weeks.
“We’ll be evaluating that situation,” he told ESPN’s Brooke Pryor in late January. “Having a discussion with Stephon in the next few weeks. Hopefully be able to say something more definitively in the future.”
It appears those conversations have occurred over the past three weeks. And Colbert’s commentary, while far from definitive, seems to strike an optimistic tone about Tuitt’s return noting that he is “[trying] to come back and be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Tuitt’s return would be a huge boost to the Steelers’ defensive line. Without him or Tyson Alualu in 2021, the Steelers finished with a 32nd-ranked and historically bad run defense. Tuitt’s last season playing came in 2020 where he put up a career-high 11 sacks and made up one of the game’s best duos alongside Cam Heyward. Alualu has already confirmed his return to the team and if Tuitt does the same, Pittsburgh will have one of the better defensive lines top to bottom in the NFL.
Tuitt, who turns 29 in May, has 34.5 career sacks for the Steelers. Pittsburgh selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.