Freiermuth Updates Knee Injury, Offseason Plans, Red Zone TD Production Goals

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth suffered a scary knee injury during the team’s 2022 regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns and thankfully not long after that contest we found out it was only a Grade 2 MCL sprain that he had sustained and that it would not require him undergoing any surgery. Recently, Freiermuth sat down with Dale Lolley of to talk about how scary that injury was for him and what his offseason plans will be.

“I went down, and I heard something,” Freiermuth said. “I definitely thought the worst and I was praying that it wasn’t. And I’m happy that it’s not. I’m very lucky that I dodged a bullet. I’m happy there’s no surgery and it’s just a sprain and so a month rehab and I’ll be good.”

With Freiermuth now having two full NFL seasons underneath his belt, he has a pretty good idea of how he needs to attack this offseason and especially with him coming off a late-season knee injury to boot.

“Obviously the first month and a half of the offseason is just getting your body back and then getting back to your base level,” Freiermuth said. “So, I have to continue to do that and take some rest. But with rehab, that’s kind of my rest, just rehabbing my knee and then go from there.”

Freiermuth’s second NFL season was better than his first one when it came to statistics such as catches, receiving yards and yards after the catch. That noted, Freiermuth saw his touchdown receptions decrease quite significantly in his second season as he only had two after registering seven as a rookie in 2021. That aspect of his game, along with his blocking, are two areas in his game that he indicated he would like to improve in 2023, his third NFL season.

“Obviously, I wish that I had more touchdowns and I wish that I put together blocking more throughout stretches instead of little increments,” Freiermuth told Lolley.

In a recent appearance on the “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger” podcast, the Steelers former quarterback, who played with Freiermuth during his rookie, jokingly told the young tight end that he thinks every pass should be thrown to him inside the 20-yard-line.

“I’m not going to disagree,” Freiermuth replied back.

In total in 2022, Freiermuth was targeted 10 times inside the red zone. He caught four of those red zone targets in 2022 with both of his touchdowns coming from veteran quarterback Mitch Trubisky and thus not rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett.

With Pickett now installed as the team’s starting quarterback moving forward, it will be imperative that he and Freiermuth quickly develop a red zone rapport moving forward. Based on what Freiermuth and Pickett have both said since the 2022 season ended, they will getting together during the offseason, along with a few other players on offense, for some impromptu on-the-field practices. Those obviously likely won’t happen until Freiermuth is well recovered from his late-season knee sprain.

Currently, Heath Miller owns the Steelers’ record for most catches in a single season with 76 and he did that in 2009. Should Freiermuth stay healthy in 2023 and if Pickett progresses like most think he will, the Steelers third-year tight end should have a good shot at breaking Miller’s tight end reception record.

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