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Steelers Injury Updates

Steelers FS Minkah Fitzpatrick Won’t Return vs. Bengals



Steelers FS Minkah Fitzpatrick
Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick comes out of the tunnel against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 8, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will not be making his return to the team’s lineup this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fitzpatrick, who has been working his way back from a hamstring injury, did not participate in the team’s first two practice sessions of the week on Wednesday and Thursday. He was not seen taking part in drills with other safeties during the individual portion of practice on Friday, and in fact did not practice at all on Friday, the team announced. He has been ruled out of the Week 12 trip to Cincinnati.

Fitzpatrick has been out of the Steelers’ lineup since suffering his right hamstring injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9. He has missed the team’s last three games, and despite optimism from head coach Mike Tomlin that he would be able to return to practice multiple times over that time period, he has yet to do so.

The Steelers replaced Fitzpatrick by moving Damontae Kazee from strong safety to free safety, and Keanu Neal, who had been sharing time with Kazee at strong safety, moved into a full-time starting role.

That lasted until Neal was injured in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 10 win over the Green Bay Packers. Neal was placed on injured reserve with a rib injury, and will miss at least three more games.

Trenton Thompson was called up from the practice squad and made his first career start at strong safety in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns and appears set to do the same this week in Cincinnati.

The Steelers lost more of their safety depth against the Browns. Backup free safety and slot cornerback Elijah Riley suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss at least four weeks after being placed on IR.

Miles Killebrew is the only healthy backup safety on the active roster behind Kazee and Thompson, assuming that Fitzpatrick doesn’t play. Safety Jalen Elliott and recently-signed multi-position defensive back Eric Rowe are candidates to be elevated from the practice squad.