The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed tackle Zach Banner, running back Anthony McFarland and defensive end Stephon Tuitt on the injured reserve list, the team announced on Wednesday.
Banner has been rehabilitating his knee after an ACL injury cost him all but one game of his 2020 season. He was not placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp, but saw limited reps throughout camp and did not travel to Carolina to take part in the preseason finale on Friday.
It’s unclear if Banner is still dealing with the aftermath of his surgery or has suffered some kind of setback in his recovery. Head coach Mike Tomlin declined to update the status of any of his injured players this week. The Steelers used rookie Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle and Chukwuma Okorafor at right tackle during this week’s practices.
Tuitt has not practiced with the team at all throughout training camp or this offseason since the death of his brother in June. He was excused for mandatory minicamp and started out training camp working individually, instead of with the team. About midway through training camp, those workout ceased.
Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler confirmed on Wednesday that Tuitt has been dealing with a knee issue, in addition to needing to get back to his usual level of fitness and handling the emotional blow dealt to his family.
Steelers nose tackle Tyson Alualu said this week that if Tuitt isn’t ready to play, he expects Chris Wormley to take snaps at end in the 3-4 base defense, with Alualu staying on the field alongside Cam Heyward in the Nickel alignment.
McFarland also did not travel to Carolina with an undisclosed injury. Benny Snell Jr. and Kalen Ballage will backup Najee Harris for the time being.
By NFL rule, the three players will be eligible to return from the injured reserve after missing at least three games.
To replace the three injured players on the active roster, the team re-signed guard Rashaad Coward, center/guard B.J. Finney and cornerback Arthur Maulet, who were all released as the team made its cut to 53 players on Tuesday.