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Young Steelers WR Making Season Debut vs. Texans



Steelers WR Dez Fitzpatrick
Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Dez Fitzpatrick and cornerback Luq Barcoo at training camp, Aug. 4, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Steelers wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick will debut in a Steelers uniform on Sunday against the Houston Texans with Gunner Olszewski inactive. Fitzpatrick is a primary special teamer who will likely see snaps as a gunner and on the kick coverage team. Pittsburgh has five wide receivers active with Olszewski down, including Miles Boykin, Calvin Austin III, Allen Robinson II, and George Pickens.

Still a young player, Fitzpatrick was a fourth-round pick by the Titans but left the team following a rocky start to his career. That landed him in Pittsburgh, and he made the initial practice squad. But the team elevated him to the active roster when Johnson went down.

Fitzpatrick appeared in 76 offensive snaps for the Steelers over three preseason games, seeing increased playing time as the preseason went on, but finished with zero catches on just two targets. A college star at Louisville, the Tennessee Titans selected Fitzpatrick with the 109th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Fitzpatrick was waived before his rookie season but re-signed with the Titans’ practice squad.

“I’ve been down this road before,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t need to see this or hear any praise. At this point, I’m so tunnel-visioned. Really, I can’t be worried about anything else other than winning the day, the play, the down, and trying to do it all over again. If it’s a bad day, down, or play, then I have put it in the back of my mind and keep chugging. From other teams, that’s what I’ve learned and experienced in the NFL.”

After Julio Jones was injured, Fitzpatrick was promoted to the team’s active roster. In four appearances, Fitzpatrick hauled in five of his eight receptions for 49 yards and one receiving touchdown. His first career touchdown came against the Houston Texans as he caught an 18-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill.

Fitzpatrick has played in five games over his first two seasons, totaling five catches, 49 receiving yards, and one touchdown. Pittsburgh may not see him play much on offense, but the young receiver has an opportunity to prove his worth in his debut against the Texans.