INDIANAPOLIS — Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt has expressed a desire to return to the team, general manager Kevin Colbert said on Tuesday, but no official steps have been taken towards that happening.
“Absolutely,” Colbert told Steelers Nation Radio when asked if Tuitt had expressed a desire to play again.
Colbert said in Pittsburgh last week that the team was leaving the door open to Tuitt returning, but did not specifically say at that point that Tuitt had expressed a desire to return.
But Colbert also said Tuesday in Indianapolis that Tuitt wanted to play in 2021. Tuitt was in the process of working his way back to shape in training camp when he suffered a knee injury. He got a late start on his 2021 season following the tragic death of his brother in a hit-and-run accident in Georgia.
Colbert said that family situation also played a part in Tuitt missing all of the 2021 season. It’s unclear what factors could cause Tuitt to continue to miss time. It has been recently reported that he is considering retirement. Tuitt’s Pittsburgh-area home was placed under contract to be sold in January.
The Steelers are expected to get fellow veteran defensive lineman Tyson Alualu back after he missed most of 2021 with a knee injury. Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk and Henry Mondeaux are also under contract to serve as depth.
But the team’s line looks a lot different with the player the caliber of Tuitt on it. Tuitt had double-digit sacks in his last full season and without him in the fold, defensive tackle would shoot up the team’s needs entering the offseason, which is an extensive list.
The Steelers also have to replace staring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, have pending free agents at wide receiver, tackle, cornerback and safety and could be looking to make upgrades at inside linebacker and interior offensive line.