PITTSBURGH — Pat Freiermuth is being careful with his words this time. The Pittsburgh Steelers tight end is nearing a return from a right hamstring injury that has sidelined him since Week 4.
He is planning on returning to practice next week, the first time he is eligible to be activated from the injured reserve list, and he hopes to be back in action when the Steelers visit the Cleveland Browns in Week 11.
Of course, all of that was true was once before.
Freiermuth first suffered the right hamstring injury in Week 4. He worked his way back to health and was practicing fully before the Steelers’ Week 7 trip to Los Angeles to play the Rams.
“I feel good,” Freiermuth said on Oct. 16. “I’m good to go this week; excited to get back out there and play.”
Four days later, a setback in practice landed him on the IR. So this time, he’s being a little more cautious with his words.
“I’m not gonna jinx it this time,” he said on Wednesday.
But Freiermuth was back at pratice on Wednesday, running off to the side. He is planning to practice next week and hopes to make his return for Week 11 in Cleveland. He just needs his hamstring to play along this time.
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) November 8, 2023
While the rest of the team is obviously focused week-to-week, knowing that he’s out at least one more game has allowed Freiermuth the luxury of looking ahead, and he knows that game he’s hoping to get back for could be huge for the Steelers.
A win over the Browns would lock a tiebreaker for Pittsburgh between the teams, and would also assure the Steelers of finishing no worse than .500 in division play, both of which could be crucial as the ultra-tight AFC North enters the stretch run.
With Minkah Fitzpatrick also on the mend, the Steelers could be nearly fully healthy — minus linebacker Cole Holcomb, who is out for the season — for that affair, as well.