Former Steelers OT Zach Banner Tweets He Has Not Retired, Still Rehabbing Knee Injury

Zach Banner camp

We haven’t heard from former Pittsburgh Steelers’ OT Zach Banner in quite some time, not since being released by the Steelers after suffering setbacks from a 2020 torn ACL. Once active on social media, Banner had largely gone quiet but made a notable announcement Thursday, tweeting he has not retired and is still rehabbing and recovering from his knee injury.

Here’s what Banner tweeted earlier in the day.

In part, Banner tweeted:

“I have not retired…Im simply just a bigger man who has needed more time to get past a devastating injury…”

Banner suffered a torn ACL in Week One of the 2020 season, just after beating out OT Chukwuma Okorafor for the Steelers’ starting right tackle job. A former fourth-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts, Banner struggled to initially stick in the league, his weight ballooning. He was released by the Colts months after being drafted in 2017.

Claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns, Banner made his NFL debut later that season but was released the following March. After a brief stint in Carolina, he spent months out of the league before being picked up by the Steelers late in training camp. He got in shape, lost weight, and stuck on the roster. First, in a tackle-eligible role before winning the right tackle job over Okorafor. But he tore his ACL in the Week One opener against the New York Giants and missed the rest of the season.

Banner rehabbed and was eased back onto the field for 2021, seeing full-team reps late in training camp. But he suffered a setback in his knee just weeks later and was placed on IR in September. He was activated six weeks later but logged only five offensive snaps and struggled to get a helmet. Pittsburgh released him in March of 2022, one year into his two-year contract.

Now 29, Banner seems open to returning to the NFL. The status of his injured knee is unclear and we don’t know how much more rehabbing he has to do. Given the serious nature of the injury, it’s fair to wonder how much interest the NFL has in him. But if teams are comfortable with him medically, it’s possible he at least gets back on the tryout circuit later this year with the chance of being added to a 90-man roster this summer. Could be return to Pittsburgh? The Steelers have upgraded their tackles but currently have only four under contract – maybe five, if you count 7th-round pick Spencer Anderson – and they need at least a sixth for camp. There is Chidi Okeke, an XFL player who will participate rookie minicamp and could sign his contract after exiting it (XFL players aren’t allowed to sign deals until May 15th, one day after the Steelers’ camp ends). A Banner reunion looks unlikely but until Pittsburgh rounds out the rest of its roster, it can’t be ruled out.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!