PITTSBURGH — Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler confirmed that defensive end Stephon Tuitt has been dealing with a knee injury on Wednesday, in addition to the family tragedy that has kept him from being a full participant in the team’s preseason preparation this season.
“His knee is bothering him, as far as I know,” Butler said. “I don’t know everything about his knee, I just know it’s slowing him down right now.”
Butler also acknowledged that there’s been a cumulative effect for the Steelers’ star defensive lineman, who missed time after his younger brother was killed in a hit-and-run accident in the middle of the offseason, and then injured his knee while trying to work his back into practice shape.
Tuitt’s teammates have been supportive of him in his absence, and Butler echoed that sentiment.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know how I’d handle my mom watching her son die,” he said. “I don’t know if I could handle that. So I’m not sure what to tell you other than his knee is bothering him a little bit, he might be a little bit overweight and what he’s doing with his mother. It’s all of those things.”
The Steelers have avoided putting Tuitt on the injured reserve list to this point, but that could be an option for them, depending on his prognosis. Butler said that he does not expect the knee issue to be a long-term one.
“We hope to get him back and I think we will get him back, but I don’t know when I can tell you he’s coming back,” he said.