We still don’t have an answer on whether or not Stephon Tuitt will play for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022. But we do have an update.
Kevin Colbert spoke to local media on Monday and confirmed the team has spoken with Tuitt while remaining open to his return to the team.
By Jenna Harner of WPXI.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert on Stephon Tuitt:
Stephon had a tough season last year, battling a knee injury. He obviously had a personal situation he had to deal with. We just hope for the best as he tries to come back and be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers
— Jenna Harner (@JennaHarner11) February 21, 2022
And more from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
Kevin Colbert on Stephon Tuitt’s availability: Been in contact with Stephon. Open to continue to help her, keep evaluating this position and its availability for us.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 21, 2022
Nothing Colbert said Monday seemed to confirm that Tuitt will or won’t play next year. But Colbert described exactly what Tuitt dealt with, his brother’s death in the offseason followed by knee surgery this summer. It’s still unclear which situation was the main reason Tuitt missed all year, but both likely played a part.
Last month, team president Art Rooney II said the team would talk to Tuitt in the coming weeks.
“We will assess this situation,” he told ESPN’s Brooke Pryor in late January. “Having a discussion with Stephon in the next few weeks. I hope to be able to say something more definitive in the future.
It appears that these conversations have taken place over the past three weeks. And Colbert’s comment, while far from definitive, seems to set an optimistic tone about Tuitt’s return by noting that he is “[trying] come back and be part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tuitt’s return would be a huge boost for the Steelers defensive line. Without him or Tyson Alualu in 2021, the Steelers finished with a 32nd-ranked and historically poor run defense. Tuitt’s final season was in 2020, where he had a career-high 11 sacks and was one of the game’s best pairings alongside Cam Heyward. Alualu has already confirmed his return to the team and if Tuitt does the same, Pittsburgh will have one of the best top-to-bottom defensive lines in the NFL.
Tuitt, who turns 29 in May, has 34.5 career sacks for the Steelers. Pittsburgh selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.