As the Pittsburgh Steelers begin Phase Three of their OTAs, there are many questions surrounding the team. From the quarterback position to Teryl Austin taking over the defense, there is much to be learned by both the team and the fans. As far as personnel, there is no bigger question mark than that of Stephon Tuitt.
Tuitt has not set foot on the grass of Heinz Field since 2020 and the reasons why are not exactly clear. The Steelers have never really made any sort of declarative statement about the defensive lineman despite numerous rumors. What is 100% fact is that about one year ago, Tuitt’s brother was tragically and senselessly killed in a hit-and-run accident. In the weeks and months that followed, speculation swirled that Tuitt was struggling mentally and who wouldn’t be?
But then as the months went on and the season was underway, the talk turned to a knee injury that was keeping Tuitt from participating. The injury is something no one could honestly pin down as truth. Some surmised it was a cover story because the truth was that Tuitt was “not right mentally.” That’s for others to discuss and decide.
His lack of presence on the field was evident. When Tyson Alualu went down with a broken ankle, Tuitt’s absence became even more glaring as opposing offense’s gashed the Steelers’ defense with one big run after another.
There’s a lot of speculation about Tuitt as Phase Three gets underway. If he is not present, most will see this as a clear indication that his time in Pittsburgh is over. While I agree it would be a sign that things are trending in that direction, I don’t think we can just toss him away for the 2022 season. Should Tuitt show up in Latrobe (and in shape) then I think that would be a very clear indication that he’s “all-in” for the year.
I’m of the opinion that there can no longer be an “in-between.” Mike Tomlin cannot afford another year of Stephon Tuitt being in limbo. That might sound harsh given the circumstances but as Tomlin knows better than all of us is that this is a business. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on. A post June 1st cut would save the Steelers $9 million but I have to believe they will attempt to squeeze every last bit they can out of him.
So while we all look forward to seeing and hearing about so many new guys in Black and Gold, let’s not jump to conclusions just yet on Stephon Tuitt. His time is running out however whether we like it or not.