PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry said he’ll be good to go for the team’s Week 6 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite being limited in practice this week with a knee injury.
Gentry was injured in the Steelers’ Week 5 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but was able to finish the game. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he expected Gentry to be limited in practice this week.
Gentry did not practice on Wednesday, but said after practice Thursday that he’ll be good to go.
Starter Pat Freiermuth remains in the NFL concussion protocol and his status for Sunday is in question. Freiermuth was limited in Wednesday’s practice, after originally reported as being out.
None of the tight ends have been big parts of the Steelers offense so far this season. Freiermuth has 20 catches for 235 yards and a touchdown in five games, Gentry has eight for 85 and Heyward has two for 12.
Seventh-round rookie Connor Heyward is the lone fully healthy tight end on the Steelers. Gentry expressed faith in Heyward’s ability to produce if called upon.
“We’ll see if [Freiermuth] is able to go, we don’t know yet,” Gentry said. “If he’s not able to, I’ll be ready to step in. Meatball, 83, will be ready to step in, too.”
Gentry later clarified that he started calling the younger Heyward “Meatball” during training camp and that it’s stuck, though Heyward seemed less sure about that.
Freiermuth’s concussion also didn’t stop Gentry from dishing out some college football smack talk, a big part of the always-close tight end room that features a Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State alum. Gentry predicted a win for his Wolverines against Freiermuth’s Nittany Lions this Saturday.
If the Steelers need to call up a tight end from the practice squad, rookie Rodney Williams is their lone option, after longtime practice squad member Kevin Rader was snatched up by the Tennessee Titans last month. Williams is a UT-Martin alum.