The 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers’ path to an improbable playoff berth just got a bit harder.
Defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, one of the team’s best players this season, is out for the season after tearing a pectoral muscle in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The @Steelers outstanding DL Stephon Tuitt did tear pectoral and will need surgery, out for year, per sources. No longer a “fear” but reality. Another huge setback for team.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 14, 2019
Tuitt exited in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and did not return.
Losing Tuitt is a tough blow for the Steelers defense. In five games before the Chargers game he had to exit early, the 303-pounder posted 22 total tackles, six tackles for loss, six QB hits and 3.5 sacks. A second-rounder out of Notre Dame in 2014, Tuitt was well on pace for a career season.
Tenth-year pro Tyson Alualu is the next man up behind Tuitt.
The Steelers bet big on their chances now and going forward without the injured Ben Roethlisberger, trading a first-round pick with top-10 potential for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and proceeding forward with Mason Rudolph, currently out with a concussion. Making the playoffs — which would probably require going at least 7-3 to close the season — and preventing a costly season for Pittsburgh could be tough without Tuitt’s presence on the interior defensive line.
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