On Monday night, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Steelers’ defensive end Stephon Tuitt has a torn pectoral which will require surgery and end his 2019 season.
The @Steelers outstanding DL Stephon Tuitt did tear pectoral and will need surgery, out for year, per sources. No longer a “fear” but reality. Another huge setback for team.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 14, 2019
Tuitt was having arguably his best season with the Steelers, amassing 3.5 sacks, 22 tackles, and seven quarterback hits in a little over five games before he exited Week 6 in the first quarter. Tuitt continued to win individual matchups throughout the season, drawing more attention from opposing teams.
In his sixth year with the Steelers, Tuitt was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Notre Dame. Unfortunately, Tuitt’s rookie year is the only season in which he appeared in every game.
While the injury is concerning, it is also difficult for a team to have two of the top five salary cap players on injured reserve for the season. Tuitt’s cap number for the 2019 season is just shy of $10 million which places him eleventh among the NFL’s interior defensive linemen according to overthecap.com.
In his absence, the Steelers used both Tyson Alualu and Javon Hargrave in the other defensive end position opposite Cameron Heyward against the Chargers. At times, Hargrave was playing defensive end instead of nose tackle as Daniel McCullers came in to log a dozen snaps.
With Tuitt out for the season, the Steelers will look to add another player to the roster. It is unsure if the Steelers will go with another defensive lineman or if they will add depth to another position. Rookie Isaiah Buggs will also look to contribute to the defense as he has not been active yet for 2019.
It has been an injury-plagued season for the Steelers. Starting their third quarterback in six games, the Steelers defense helped lead the way Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers with three turnovers and a defensive score. Although some were ruled out before the game, the Steelers ended the night on defense without either starting cornerback, an outside linebacker, a defensive end, and one of their inside linebackers.
While the bye week is usually welcomed to get players healed up, losing players for the season is terrible regardless of bye week. Once Tuitt is added to the injured reserve list, he will be the fifth player the Steelers have used the designation on since the beginning of training camp, following Lavon Hooks, Ben Roethlisberger, Sean Davis, and Xavier Grimble. Since being put on IR, Grimble received an injury settlement and was released.
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