Steelers tight end Eric Ebron said that the knee injury that ended his 2021 season is fully healthy in a post to Twitter on Wednesday.
Ebron played in eight games and made three starts for the Steelers in 2021 before being injured on Nov. 21 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Ebron had surgery on his knee and was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
The 28-year-old Ebron is set to become an unrestricted free agent this March unless the Steelers and he agree to a contract extension. Ebron signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the team back in 2020.
He was the team’s primary tight end in 2020, starting nine games and catching 56 passes for 558 yards and five touchdowns. Even before Ebron’s injury in 2021, rookie Pat Freiermuth had taken away some of his targets. Ebron finished 2021 with 12 catches for 84 yards and one score.
In Ebron’s absence, third-year tight end Zach Gentry stepped up into a larger role in the offense. Gentry caught 19 passes for 167 yards in 2021 after catching just one in his first two professional seasons combined.
Behind Freiermuth and Gentry, the Steelers have Kevin Rader and Jace Sternberger. Rader had just two receptions, while Sternberger spent all of his time in Pittsburgh on the practice squad.
Ebron is one of 21 pending free agents the Steelers will have to make decisions about before the start of the contact period March 14. The team does have about $18 million in current, usable salary cap space that Kevin Colbert and company could use to retain some of their own free agents.
A first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions out of North Carolina in 2014, Ebron spent four seasons with the Lions and then two with the Indianapolis Colts before joining the Steelers. Noted for his route-running ability and athleticism from the tight end position, Ebron has 351 career receptions for 3,837 yards and 33 receiving touchdowns.