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Steelers are hopeful to have Stephon Tuitt in Week 1, but nothing is certain

The Steelers are holding out hope they will have their talented defensive lineman back for the start of the regular season.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been missing something this training camp and preseason, and it isn’t T.J. Watt. While Watt holds out hope for a new contract prior to the Week 1 game vs. the Buffalo Bills, Stephon Tuitt hasn’t participated, but for unknown reasons.

Fans all heard about the devastating hit-and-run accident this summer which killed Tuitt’s brother, but outside of that tragedy there isn’t much known about Tuitt’s situation. All that has been said about Tuitt, publicly, is the team is hopeful he will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Here is Keith Butler on Tuitt:

8/17/2021

“Boy, I hope so. I really hope so. I think he will be. We don’t want him to go out there and get hurt and we lose him for another four weeks or something like that. We want to make sure he’s in shape and ready to play when we play our first ball game.”

8/25/2021

“It’s not a problem. He’s here all the time. He’s always in the meetings and stuff like that. When is he coming back? When we need him to come back. Does he need to come back and get in shape and stuff like that? Sure, he does. But we’re not concerned about it right now. Hopefully, next week we’ll get him back. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

When Mike Tomlin was asked about Tuitt’s return, his answer was simply they were not willing to put a timetable on his return to the field.

Monday, after practice, Tuitt’s defensive teammate Tyson Alualu spoke with the media and said he expects Tuitt to be ready for Week 1.

It should be noted Tuitt has not participated in any preseason game, or even full practice since the team reported to training camp. The mystery behind Tuitt’s absence is what has most scratching their heads.

No, the tragedy which took place with his brother is no mystery, but is he injured? No one is saying, but the hope is he, and Watt, will be returning to practice sooner, rather than later.

In the meantime, Tuitt’s absence has given more repetitions to players like Chris Wormley and Isaiah Buggs, something which hasn’t been taken for granted.

“Just to get those reps day in and day out and continue to build on what I did the day before and the preseason games beforehand is important because I didn’t get that time last year, and I think it showed during the season.” Wormley said about not just getting repetitions, but staying healthy this preseason.

If there has been one consistent throughout this time, it has been the fact the Steelers organization, and Tuitt’s teammates, remained at his side and having his back.

“Stephon is a work in progress, you know he’s going through what he’s been going through.” Isaiah Buggs said after the preseason finale vs. the Carolina Panthers. “He’s been at the club everyday, he’s been with us everyday he’s been working with us every day and he’s a work in progress. Stephon is our guy. We love him and we are ready for him. He’s our guy.”

The Steelers’ defense is vastly different with Tuitt in the starting lineup, compared to the alternative, but it goes without saying the Steelers are willing to take a patient approach to his return. Regardless of the reason.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 regular season.