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Steelers All 90: Dez Fitzpatrick Worried About ‘Winning the Day’



Steelers Dez Fitzpatrick

The Pittsburgh Steelers brought in Dez Fitzpatrick this offseason to compete for a spot in a logjammed wide receiver room. The former Tennessee Titan has appeared in five games over his first two seasons and has totaled five receptions for 49 yards and an 18-yard touchdown reception.

His past minor experience will not do him any favors in regard to making this team but what he did in the Steelers’ OTAs just might start pushing the needle. One day at OTAs, Fitzpatrick torched the secondary and hauled in three touchdowns on the day. While that is a multitude of impact plays, Fitzpatrick knows that it was only the spring and that he still has work to do.

“I’ve been down this road before,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t need to see this or hear any praise. At this point, I’m so tunnel-visioned. Really, I can’t be worried about anything else other than winning the day, the play, the down, and trying to do it all over again. If it’s a bad day, down, or play, then I have put it in the back of my mind and keep chugging. From other teams, that’s what I’ve learned and experienced in the NFL.”

While Fitzpatrick does not want the praise, his three-touchdown day put one veteran on notice. Mitch Trubisky raved about the Louisville product after that practice and praised his work ethic.

“You know, he’s a guy who at this point you give a chance to and he’s going out there and making plays,” Trubisky said. “Dez is a hard worker, a good guy, and so far, he’s making plays.”

With training camp getting underway, Fitzpatrick knows that it is the little, minor details that he needs to improve on if he wants a chance to crack the team’s final roster. He stated that with more time to learn the playbook and being able to establish chemistry with the coaches and his teammates, he will be able to make even more plays.

“You know, the more I get into the offense, the more I hear the plays in the huddle, the more I believe in my coaches, the more plays I can make,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is football and I feel like I’m a smart football player. Getting a grasp of the offense and how things are done, how routes are finished, and the small, minor details, that’s the stuff you learn.”

Regardless, Fitzpatrick will need to really stick out to the coaches in training camp and the preseason to earn one of the few roster spots that are still available to the wide receivers. The Steelers tend to carry six receivers on their active roster but with four of them already taken to the usual suspects, Fitzpatrick will have to outshine guys like Hakeem Butler, Ja’Marcus Bradley, and Cody White in order to have a chance at the final roster.

82 • Dez Fitzpatrick, Wide Receiver, Louisville
6-foot-2, 208 pounds, 25 years old, 3rd Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Fitzpatrick to a reserve/future contract on Jan. 11, 2023, after his practice squad contract with the Tennesse Titans expired following the 2022 season.

Last SeasonAfter appearing in four games and catching a touchdown in his rookie season, Fitzpatrick was only active for one game for the Titans in 2022. He spent the majority of the season on the team’s practice squad and then his contract expired after the season ended.

Steelers Dez Fitzpatrick

Louisville wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick practices before the Reese’s Senior Bowl in 2021.

Career: The Tennessee Titans selected Fitzpatrick with the 109th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Fitzpatrick was waived prior to his rookie season but re-signed with the Titans’ practice squad.

After Julio Jones went down with an injury, Fitzpatrick was promoted to the team’s active roster. In four appearances, Fitzpatrick hauled in five of his eight receptions for 49 yards and one receiving touchdown. His first career touchdown came against the Houston Texans as he caught an 18-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill.

Fitzpatrick has played in five games over his first two seasons and has totaled five catches, 49 receiving yards, and one touchdown.

Year GP Targets Receptions Rec Yards Rec Tds PFF Rating
2021 4 8 5 49 1 64.7
2022 1 0 0 0 0 41.1

CollegeComing out of high school as a consensus four-star recruit, Fitzpatrick decided to take his talents to the University of Louisville. Fitzpatrick redshirted during his freshman season at Louisville and did not appear in any games in 2016.

In 2017, Fitzpatrick appeared in 13 games for the Cardinals as a redshirt freshman. He hauled in 45 receptions for 699 yards, and team-high and career-high nine receiving touchdowns in his first year of playing college football. Following the season, Fitzpatrick earned honorable mention All-ACC nominations.

As a redshirt sophomore, Fitzpatrick logged 11 game appearances but his production took a hit. He finished the season with 31 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns.

In 2019, FItzpatrcik started 12 of his 13 appearances for the Cardinals. He finished second on the team with 35 receptions and totaled 635 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

In his final season at Louisville, Fitzpatrick appeared in 11 games. He tallied 43 receptions, 833 yards, and three touchdowns.

Over his five years as a Cardinal, Fitzpatrick played in 48 games and racked up 154 receptions for 2,589 yards and 21 receiving touchdowns. His 21 touchdowns ranked fifth all-time in school history.

After his redshirt senior season, Fitzpatrick attended the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl where he hauled in six receptions for 90 yards to lead all pass catchers.

Year GP Receptions Rec Yards Rec TDs
2016 0 0 0 0
2017 13 45 699 9
2018 11 31 422 3
2019 13 35 635 6
2020 11 43 833 3

Salary cap and future: Fitzpatrick is in Pittsburgh after signing a reserve/future contract that runs through the end of the 2023 season. If he makes the Steelers’ final 53-man roster, he will cost $870,000 against the team’s cap space.

The Steelers can part ways with Fitzpatrick without incurring any dead money in 2023 if they choose to release him at any point.

The rest of the 90: