The Steelers have ruled out tight end Pat Freiermuth with a hamstring injury against the Los Angeles Rams, the team announced on Friday. Freiermuth has had a setback in his return from a hamstring injury.
Freiermuth was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, and looked good in the early part of practice on Thursday, but was listed as limited on Thursday’s injury report.
The tight end suffered the hamstring injury in the team’s Week 4 loss to the Houston Texans. He said that he planned to play against the Rams this week, but the setback will have him on the shelf for at least another week. Pelissero reported that it’s “likely” that Freiermuth will be out even longer.
The Steelers had expected to get a significant boost with Freiermuth’s return. The third-year Penn State alum caught 63 passes for 732 yards in his best statistical season in 2022.
“With Diontae (Johnson) and Pat back, we’ve got some more weapons which you have to respect down the field,” offensive coordinator Matt Canada said on Thursday. “I think getting some guys back just brings us more to our full kind of our full arsenal of what we think we can do and be on offense. Not necessarily major play differences, but certainly a difference in how they have to adapt to who we’ve got out there. I think those guys draw some attention.”
Now the Steelers will have to play at least one more game with a shorthanded arsenal for quarterback Kenny Pickett.
The Steelers started rookie Darnell Washington in Week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens. Connor Heyward and Rodney Williams II are the other tight ends on the roster.
Everyone else is healthy and expected to play. Outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Nick Herbig each had injuries this week, but have no injury designation for Sunday’s game. Meanwhile, the Steelers will get punter Pressley Harvin III and guard James Daniels back.
With his full participation in each practice this week and the impending release of Gunner Olszewski, receiver Diontae Johnson is likely to return and be activated off injured reserve. Running back Anthony McFarland practiced fully all week and may return from his knee injury that landed him on injured reserve.
Overall, Pittsburgh is healthy but losing Freiermuth is a blow to the offense that hopes to round into form with an entire cache of weapons. Now, they will have to wait some time until they can welcome Freiermuth back into the lineup after aggravating the hamstring injury.