Steelers Release Injury Report That Includes Tuitt, Banner, and McFarland Jr on the IR

 

(photo obtained from steelers.com)

Sheesh.  The injury report released today was certainly not what the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Steeler fans, were hoping for just a little over a week away from opening kickoff.  The Steelers officially announced today that defensive-end Stephon Tuitt, offensive tackle Zach Banner, and running back Anthony McFarland Jr. will start the year on the Injured Reserve.  This means they will all miss a minimum of three weeks.

Stephon Tuitt

Tuitt is the biggest loss of the three.  He had been on an extended absence that has left him unspotted on the practice field for over two weeks now.  It was originally reported that Tuitt was dealing with the tragic loss of his younger brother after his passing this offseason.  However, we have now learned from defensive coordinator Keith Butler that this is not entirely the case.

Butler said today that Tuitt is has a knee injury that is "bothering him".  Additionally, Butler said today that Tuitt is “a little bit overweight” from lack of conditioning.  He later went on to say, “I don’t know exactly everything about his knee.  I just know it’s slowing him down right now.”

Tuitt had a career-high of 11 sacks last season.  Butler was visibly discouraged talking about his star lineman saying, “We were hoping he would be ready to go” and “you never know how injuries go sometimes.”  Veteran Chris Wormley will take over for Tuitt in the interim.

Zach Banner

Meanwhile, Zach Banner is still rehabilitating an ACL injury that sidelined him for most of the 2020 season.  Some expected him to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to begin training camp.  When he hadn't it seemed like a good sign.  

However, when Banner did not travel to Carolina for the final Steeler preseason game on Friday, the writing was on the wall.  Rookie Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor were used as tackles in practice this week, but veteran Joe Haeg is currently listed behind Banner on the depth chart.  We'll see who gets the start next Sunday.

Anthony McFarland Jr.

As for Anthony McFarland Jr, I think many were curious as to why the Steelers were carrying four running backs anyway. With this year’s first-round draft pick Najee Harris expect to get the lion’s share of the carries, Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage should serve as fine backups.

The three have been replaced by guard Rashaad Coward, offensive lineman B.J. Finney, and cornerback Arthur Maulet.  All three were released by the Steelers Tuesday as part of the trimming to get down to the final 53.


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