Pittsburgh Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt retires after 8 seasons

PITTSBURGH – After eight years in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Tuitt, 29, did not play in the 2021 season after his brother died in a hit-and-run accident.

“After the tragic loss of my brother Richard and after graduating from the University of Notre Dame, I know I am called to go beyond football,” Tuitt said in a statement released by the Steelers.

Selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Tuitt spent eight years with the organization. During his tenure, Tuitt was a regular starter at defensive end for six of his eight seasons. Tuitt’s status within the organization has been largely a mystery since the 2021 offseason. Following the death of Richard Bartlett III in June, Tuitt stepped away from football to grieve. He also underwent knee surgery at the start of the 2021 season, but the Steelers opted not to put him on the physically unable to play list to start the season.

Still, the Steelers were optimistic about his return.

“We have been in contact with Stephon and we are very open to continuing to help him and we will continue to assess this position and its availability for us,” former general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier this year. “We just hope it gets better for him as he tries to come back and be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

With Tuitt’s retirement, the Steelers are losing an important player in their defense. Although he didn’t play last season when he was healthy, Tuitt was a force. He had a career-high 11 sacks in 2020 as well as two forced fumbles.

“His success on and off the pitch speaks volumes about who he is as a person and as a player,” chief executive Omar Khan said in a statement. “Stephon has always conducted himself with class and maturity as he continues to be a great husband, father, son and family man in his personal life.”

The Steelers didn’t use any of their top picks to bolster the defensive line, leaving Chris Wormley and Isaiahh Loudermilk as the best contenders to fill Tuitt’s place.

Tuitt still had a year left on his contract and leaves behind nearly $10 million in dead money, but it could be stretched out over several years if the deal is completed on or after June 1.

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