As even more proof that the NFL has thoroughly overtaken the American sports landscape, there is actually a “watch” of sorts going on regarding Steelers’ defensive end Stephon Tuitt and his attendance at the third phase of the team’s OTAs that began this week at the South Side facilities.
In case you didn’t know—and there’s no way that’s possible, based on the very active comments section of the article BTSC editor Jeff Hartman published about it on Tuesday—Tuitt isn’t there.
The Steelers seem fine with it, specifically captain Cam Heyward, who addressed Tuitt’s absence with the media on Tuesday:
“Cam Heyward said Stephon Tuitt is in Indy, where he lives, but he is confident Tuitt will play for the Steelers this season. He said he knows Tuitt is putting in the work.”
That was a tweet from Steelers beat writer, Ray Fittipaldo, regarding Heyward’s remarks about Tuitt.
See? The big guy seems okay and confident that Tuitt will eventually re-join the team. Shouldn’t that be enough? Apparently not to the many fans who are “exhausted” and “tired” of the lack of information regarding Tuitt’s year-long separation from the team. Is he still grieving from the tragic death of his brother last summer? Is he still recovering from some sort of knee injury?
The former has always been believed to be the root cause of Tuitt’s lost 2021 campaign, but that’s never been confirmed by anyone. As for the knee injury? It’s hard to say because the Steelers have been fairly vague about that, too.
I am confident about one thing, however: The Steelers know what’s going on with Tuitt; otherwise, they likely would have made some sort of decision about their future relationship with him by now.
Think about it, why would the organization get this deep into the offseason, and this close to training camp, if things were still up in the air regarding Tuitt’s desire to play for them—or for anyone at all—in 2022?
That just wouldn’t be smart business, and the Steelers, despite their faults, are usually pretty smart with their business.
If the Steelers are fine with Tuitt not being at OTAs, I’m fine with it, too. We all should be, in fact. For one thing, I believe the Steelers are legally required to be okay with Tuitt’s absence since OTAs are (this is the part where I always say, “say it with me”) voluntary. For another thing, Heyward, the big dog on the squad, seems to be confident that Tuitt is doing all that is necessary to get himself ready for when his attendance at team activities is required.
Speaking of which, I’m not even sure minicamp, an activity that takes place in a couple of weeks and is totally mandatory, would be a bridge too far for me.
If the Steelers and Tuitt are in constant communication, who’s to say what arrangement the two parties have regarding Tuitt’s preparation for the 2022 regular season?
I know what you’re going to say about personal tragedies and how your employer handled things, but that’s between you and your own employer. I’d complain to them instead of trying to compare your situation to Tuitt’s.
We can’t laud the Steelers for being a people-first and family-first organization that takes great pride in caring for its employees and then turn around and get upset when it goes above and beyond to do just that.
I realize a lot of fans think they need to know where they stand with Tuitt—as if it directly affects them—but it’s still none of our business. It’s still a personal matter between employer and employee.
There may be a time when fans will have a right to stand up and demand that the Steelers make a decision about Stephon Tuitt’s future, but that time isn’t here just yet.