The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Chris Hubbard, their flex tackle and utility offensive lineman, last year via free agency to the Cleveland Browns. The hope was third year tackle Jerald Hawkins, out of LSU, would fill in for Hubbard as the Swiss Army Knife of the offensive front.
While this still may happen, news coming out of Steelers Organized Team Activities (OTAs) is Hawkins left practice with an apparent knee injury.
Multiple players confirm that Steelers OT Jerald Hawkins was injured during practice. "You never want to see something like that," guard Ramon Foster said. It could be 'Chuks' time. @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 30, 2018
“I didn’t see it at all,” left guard Ramon Foster told Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I just heard him screaming.”
The injury was said to have happened in the team drills portion of practice, and when pass blocking Hawkins went down grasping his knee.
“It’s tough, but it’s part of it,” Foster said. “Every year, it’s going to be somebody. You just hope it’s not somebody who is super significant. I don’t know the full details of it, but he did get carried off so we’ll wait to see what the medical report is.”
“That sucks,” backup quarterback Landry Jones said. “It’s a crappy thing about this sport. There is no other sport where injury is part of the game. You’re going to get hurt at some point. It’s a violent game. During this period we shouldn’t have guys go down. Today we obviously did, and it’s obviously tough to see a couple of young guys who were playing really well.”
If Hawkins is lost for the year, the absolute worst-case scenario, the team would lean on a combination of Matt Feiler and rookie Chukwuma Okorafor to help hold down the backup tackle role behind Alejandro Villanueva and Marcus Gilbert.
Hawkins wasn’t the only player helped off the field on Tuesday. Tight End Jake McGee suffered his own left leg injury and did not return.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and reports from the Steelers’ OTA workouts and other offseason news.