We talked very briefly last week about Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward’s comments about his good friend and teammate, Stephon Tuitt, about his absence from OTAs, and Heyward’s belief that he will be there for the Steelers this year.
But we only touched on it. He had a lot more to say than just that, and I think he mentioned some things that are worth highlighting that might shed some light on what his life has been like in recent times. Of course, we all know about the shocking death of his younger brother, and his knee injury that landed him on the Reserve/Injured List last year. But he’s kept himself busy.
Saying that he was doing well and that he’ll be here sooner or later, Heyward was asked where Tuitt was now. “He’s in Indy. Everybody thought that because he sold his house he wasn’t part of the team. You can write anything”, he said, via audio of his media availability at OTAs last week from The Fan Morning Show on 93.7.
It was a minor story a few months ago when Tuitt listed his house for sale, but as Heyward explained, he has “always lived elsewhere”, and that it’s not easy to keep moving your family back and forth across the country, considering himself personally fortunate that his own family is in Pittsburgh.
“Plus, he graduated, too, guys”, Heyward said. “He went to Notre Dame, and he was in school with Jerome Bettis. So let’s be happy for him in that sense as well”. Bettis recently chronicled his own journey to complete his degree at his alma mater—apparently Tuitt, also a Notre Dame alum who declared for the draft early, took the exact same course, and has spent this time finishing his education.
“I’m confident in Stephon Tuitt”, Heyward said, when he was asked why he was confident that Tuitt would be back this year and the same player he was. “Last year is last year. We grow. We live. We move on. My brother was hurting last year, and he had to do some things in his life to get him right. His knee wasn’t right. I can’t imagine being in the situation he went through, but I think he’s in a much better place”.
One can only hope that, indeed, the Stephon Tuitt of 2020 walks back into the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex next month during mandatory minicamp—or at least is a regular fixture back in Latrobe for training camp later this offseason.
Now, Tuitt is never actually going to be that same person again, at least personally. The events of the past year or so have certainly altered him in some fundamental way, speaking as somebody who has gone through similar circumstances.
But life does go on, eventually, even if it could go at a different pace for everybody—some having a greater luxury of time than others. That’s why I believe that Tuitt will indeed be back this year, even if he doesn’t show up until training camp, and I believe that he will be back at a high level. Heyward insisted multiple times that Tuitt is “getting work where he is”. Considering that he looked in shape the last time we saw him in October, in spite of his knee injury, I really have no reason to doubt it.