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Steelers NT Tyson Alualu Excited to be over ‘Hard Days’ of Injury Rehab



Steelers NT Tyson Alualu

PITTSBURGH — When Steelers defensive tackle Tyson Alualu suffered a season-ending injury early in the 2021 season, some wondered if it might be the end of the road instead of injury rehab for the veteran presence on the interior of the Pittsburgh defensive line.

Alualu, who just turned 35, has played in 14 NFL seasons. He’s earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million dollars since being drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010. He and his wife have six children, the oldest of which, Tyreé, is a promising football prospect at North Allegheny.

No one would have thought any less of Alualu if he decided that the extra time he spent with his family while rehabbing his injury was something he decided he didn’t want to give up.

But it’s going to take more than one injury to keep the football lifer away from the game. Alualu said at OTAs that he knew pretty quickly that the injury was serious, but also that he was committed to rehabbing himself to his pre-injury form.

“Just being around the guys, both physically and mentally, I think was very helpful in that process,” Alualu said. “I just enjoy those hard days and those tough times. I think those kind of build character, just trying to get back and play on Sundays.”

Now in his 15th season, Alualu will once again be looking to anchor the Steelers’ defensive line, a unit that struggled at times in 2021 without him and Stephon Tuitt and just Cameron Heyward of the team’s projected starting trio in t

“It was tough. I definitely wanted to put my hand in the pile, but I couldn’t contribute that way. It was tough because you watch games and you almost feel like, as a d-lineman, we left Cam out there by himself.”

But that also gave much-needed experience to youngster on the line like Isaiahh Loudermik and an opportunity for Montravius Adams and Chris Wormley to show they can play at higher level.

“The thing I’m most excited about is seeing the group come together and play well,” Alualu said. “I’m just excited about the guys that played last year and also the guys we added to the unit, I think we can be a good force in this league.”

If they can put the 2021 group together with third-round pick DeMarvin Leal, Alualu and Tuitt, that could very well be true, and like Heyward, Alualu seems confident that Tuitt will return the same player he was in 2020, despite missing all of last season and his absence so far at OTAs.

“From my perspective and my communication with him, I think he’s in a good place mentally and physically,” Alualu said. “I think he’ll pick right up where he left off.”

With two veteran starters back, an injection of game experience and talent, the Steelers’ defensive line could figure to be one of the strengths of the team after being a weakness in 2021 — and the play of the linebackers behind them could improve, as well.

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