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2024 NFL Draft

Troy Fautanu Blasts Concerns Over His Knee Being Flagged



Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Troy Fautanu

Three days before the 2024 NFL Draft, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that Troy Fautanu had a knee issue that could flare up as time went on. It’s not a present concern, more of a down the road thing, but Fautuan’s knee was flagged.

“Washington OT Troy Fautanu’s knee was flagged. That one was described to me as the sort of issue that shouldn’t be a problem in the short term, but could wind up impacting his longevity in the pros (though his high football character is a factor in making teams feel like he’ll do all he can to take care of it, and give himself the best chance),” Breer wrote.

Fautanu blasted Breer’s report during a recent appearance on the Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler and Dick Fain radio show, which is based in Seattle. In the interview, he talked about how he was flagged, but did not understand how it came to surface. It was a minor injury in 2021. He thinks a team later in the first round might have leaked medical information so he would drop in the draft.

“I have no clue [why my knee was flagged]. I talked to my agent, and he was saying that a team later in the draft might have leaked it to try and get me to fall. The last time I dealt with [my knee] was in 2021, but I’ve never missed any games, never missed any practices due to it, so it was kind of random, honestly,” Fautanu said.

Steelers general manager Omar Khan said Fautanu’s knee wasn’t an issue for his team.

“We wouldn’t select him if we weren’t comfortable with it,” Khan said during the post-pick press conference. “I can’t speak for some of the stuff that’s put out there and what’s true and what’s not, what other people were saying. But we were comfortable.”

Fautanu said the injury that was flagged was an older one that hasn’t bothered him in some time.

“That knee thing hasn’t bothered me in years,” he told reporters after being drafted. “If you come out playing football for years and years and you don’t get injured, you’re like a pony. I understand the physicality that I do play with. Sometimes, things are going to happen like that. But that doesn’t stop me from showing up to work every day and playing the way that I do play.”

Fautanu didn’t miss a game once he worked his way into the starting lineup at Washington, playing all 13 games in 2022 and 15 games in 2023.

Troy Fautanu was the No. 7 player on our Top 100 big board and Steelers Now projected him to go No. 16 to the Seattle Seahawks. His NFL Mock Draft Database average also had him going to Seattle.

The Steelers have been a team that has not hesitated to take chances on players with medical concerns. They stopped tight end Darnell Washington’s slide down the draft board last April and did the same with wide receiver George Pickens in 2022.

Alan Saunders contributed reporting for this story.