The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others—some already decided, some not.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Will Stephon Tuitt make an appearance at OTAs (or, for that matter, mandatory minicamp)?
Outside of the ultimate fate of the quarterback position, there probably isn’t a bigger question on the Steelers’ roster as it pertains to the 2022 season than that of the availability of Stephon Tuitt, their Robin to Cameron Heyward’s Batman along the defensive line.
The veteran missed the entirety of the 2021 season due to a combination of factors of which we are all well aware at this point. The long and short of it is that he wasn’t available all season. But we’re now preparing for the 2022 season, and the veterans are about to take the field for an organized practice for the first time since then.
So, the question is, will Tuitt be around, in a helmet, any time soon? OTAs are voluntary, and there will likely be other notable veterans who are not there, at least consistently. But if he is still not making appearances during mandatory minicamp in a few weeks, then we obviously have to wonder if indeed he has any intention of returning to play.
How the Steelers would handle it is probably conceivable enough. General manager Kevin Colbert even recently seemed to allude to a lingering injury for Tuitt, though that would seem hard to believe. I don’t think they would blink an eye if training camp approaches and they still haven’t seen him on the field. And when they get to training camp, and if he’s not there, they’ll worry about that then. But it would certainly satisfy a lot of curiosity if he at least pokes his head on the field—even if he’s not practicing—over the course of the next few weeks.