Not sure if Tomlin announced this yesterday, but today Stephon Tuitt confirmed he's going to start at defensive end for the Steelers.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) December 3, 2014
The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive front has been decimated by injuries in 2014. Brett Keisel is done for the year with a torn triceps and Steve McLendon continues to nurse a shoulder injury.
All these injuries have left the cupboard pretty bare along the defensive line, and that means turning to Stephon Tuitt to make his first NFL start Sunday when the team plays the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tuitt's transition from college to the professional level has been an up-and-down affair. Tuitt has shown flashes on the field and, according to Mike Tomlin, also on the practice field, but he has yet to put together a performance truly worthy of seeing more snaps.
Tuitt played on 28 snaps last Sunday in a loss to the New Orleans Saints, and that number will increase significantly in the next game against the Bengals.
Tuitt's start marks the third rookie who has started at some point in 2014 for Dick LeBeau's defense. Ryan Shazier was the starting inside linebacker before sustaining multiple injuries this season, and Daniel McCullers has filled in for McLendon at nose tackle during his injuries.