The Steelers are opening the 21-day window for tight Pat Freiermuth, and he is tracking to play on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Freiermuth has not played since October 1 against the Houston Texans after suffering a hamstring injury. He was slated to come back following the bye week, but reinjured the hamstring, forcing him to go on injured reserve.
Two spots are on the active roster for Freiermuth’s return, so another move will not be necessary after Pittsburgh places Kwon Alexander on injured reserve and releases Breiden Fehoko. Pittsburgh has to activate Freiermuth by Saturday at 4 p.m. for him to play on Sunday.
On Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin said that he felt good about the chances that Pat Freiermuth could return to the lineup, and it seems that is coming to fruition.
“I feel good about Pat Freiermuth and we’ll watch him go through the week and look at the quality of his work, how much of it and how he feels and let that be the determining factor,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I feel good about his potential availability.”
Those words echoed what Freiermuth said last week, when he said he planned to practice and hoped to be able to participate when the Steelers visit the Browns on Sunday.
“I’m not gonna jinx it this time,” he said last Wednesday after running off to the side while his teammates practiced.
Freiermuth has eight catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season. The third-year Penn State product had 63 grabs for 732 yards and two scores last season.
Since he’s been out, Connor Heyward has replaced Freiermuth as the team’s primary pass-catching tight end. He has 26 catches for 137 yards on the season. Darnell Washington has been the blocking tight end, with Rodney Williams supplementing in special teams roles and some spare receiving snaps. Getting Freiermuth back will be a welcome boost to Pittsburgh’s passing offense, which has struggled to get going recently. He will slot in as the third-best option in the passing game for Pittsburgh.