PITTSBURGH — Steelers star free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick says he will play against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. On Monday, he suffered a chest contusion against the Browns and went to the hospital for precautionary reasons, but he seems okay. Fitzpatrick did not practice yesterday but is feeling better.
That news is essential, as free safety Damontae Kazee is injured with a calf injury and did not practice on Wednesday. That meant that Keanu Neal, Elijah Riley, Miles Killebrew, and Trenton Thompson made up the healthy safeties room on Wednesday, but Fitzpatrick’s return could swing that in a positive direction.
Minkah Fitzpatrick left the game against Cleveland in the third quarter after making a tackle against Browns running back Jerome Ford. He was seen vomiting on the sideline, and walked to the locker room under his own power.
Fitzpatrick is a three-time All-Pro and one of the least replaceable members of a Steelers defense that will already be without defensive captain and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Cam Heyward for seven more weeks.
The Steelers need Fitzpatrick for the defense to turn things around, especially in the run game. When it comes down to it, tackling remains the biggest obstacle for the Steelers on the ground to stopping the explosive runs. It won’t get much easier with Josh Jacobs coming into the fold now.