Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth 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 season and into the offseason 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: DL Stephon Tuitt
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: For the first time all season, in what has been the most positive sign yet, general manager Kevin Colbert told Steelers Nation Radio yesterday that the team has been in contact with Stephon Tuitt, and that he has expressed a desire to continue to play football after missing the 2021 season due to injury and personal matters.
It’s been a long time coming, and frankly I didn’t think we would get it at this point, but yesterday, at the opening of the NFL Scouting Combine, we got our first substantial update about Stephon Tuitt in several months.
Tuitt, one of the Steelers’ top 10 players on their 53-man roster, period, missed the entirety of the 2021 season, initially placed on the Reserve/Injured List at the start of the regular season due to a knee injury that he suffered while apparently working on his own during training camp.
Back during the earlier portions of the offseason, the Tuitt family suffered a tremendous loss when his younger brother was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident. He spent much of his time since that incident helping to tend to his family, including his mother.
Quite frankly, we can’t possibly know exactly all he has had to bear within his family without knowing the details of his situation. All we do know for sure is that the Steelers organization has been very supportive of him throughout this process.
The veteran underwent a procedure on his knee toward the end of training camp to deal with the injury that he suffered, and was at one point walking with the assistance of a crutch, but he told Stan Savran early in the regular season that he did expect to be able to play later in the year. There was one point at which he was even seen moving around on the practice field, wearing a knee brace.
Nothing ever developed from that, unfortunately, and we have no further details than that. But at this point, I do anticipate that he will be on the field for the Steelers in 2022, and I just hope that Steelers Nation shows him no ill will upon his return. I know most will—but not all.