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A Letter From the Editor: Criticism of Stephon Tuitt goes both ways

The Pittsburgh Steelers have given Stephon Tuitt time, but if you want someone to blame it goes to both parties.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a cloud hanging over their heads for the entire 2021 season and that cloud continues to loom as the 2022 regular season approaches. If you read the title of this article, or even just glanced at the photo used, you know the name of said cloud.

Stephon Tuitt.

Let me get something out of the way right now. Tuitt’s absence for the 2021 season was so mysterious, no one knows exactly what was going on. In my opinion, and what I’ve pieced together from talking with people who actually go inside the walls of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, is it was a multi-faceted issue.

Tuitt was dealing with a knee injury, an injury someone said was needing surgery in the offseason. After the tragic passing of his brother, the surgery was delayed, and so was Tuitt’s overall preparation for the season.

The knee took longer than expected to recover, and Tuitt never truly was able to get into game shape. Then again, when you consider the details of the gruesome injury to his brother, you would understand why it would mentally wreck any individual.

Don’t know the details? When I had Tom Reed on my Let’s Ride podcast to talk all about the incident which happened in Georgia it was eye-opening, to say the least.

Nonetheless, with Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in their third phase, which is when most people start to pay attention, people want to know if/when Tuitt is going to return to the team. Cam Heyward gave a nice vote of confidence, as did Tyson Alualu, but fans are growing anxious, and frustrated.

To be more specific, fans want someone to blame. Someone to point a finger in their direction and yell, “It’s YOUR fault!” A person and a place where they can get their proverbial pitchforks and torches and storm the gates.

As you can imagine, the majority of fans want to blame Tuitt. It isn’t as if they don’t sympathize with his plight, but they feel he should be ready to return to the team and honor his contract.

I get it, but let’s not pretend the blame should fall solely on Tuitt’s shoulders. No, it goes on both sides of this issue.

Blame Tuitt for not at least showing his face at some point this offseason, even just to give the visual of him being in the building, present and looking as if he will be a part of the team in 2022.

Blame Tuitt for not doing his part and quieting the doubters who have been growing louder and louder by the week.

But don’t just blame Tuitt.

Blame the Steelers for not being more open about the entire situation. For not talking about whether he is absent due to his knee injury, or the loss of his brother. Or maybe combination of both. A simple explanation would go a long way.

Blame the Steelers for not having Tuitt, who we assume will return in 2022, come back for a week of OTAs just so fans will shut up about it already. Tuitt wouldn’t have to say a word to the media, but just be present.

The need, or desire, to blame someone has become a staple in today’s society. And it doesn’t exclude sports. A team loses a close game, people want someone to blame. Fans believe the Steelers’ defense needs Tuitt to be dominant, so they want to blame someone. They want the organization to impose deadlines and/or to cut the defensive end.

You are entitled to your beliefs, but don’t have your blinders on to the point to where you don’t see there is plenty of blame to go around with this Tuitt fiasco which is entering Year 2.

(Note: The Letter From the Editor feature runs every Sunday of the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)