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The Steelers ranked last in the league in run defense in 2021, allowing 143.8 yards per game. They also allowed a league-high 5.0 yards per carry. The defense certainly missed the presence of Stephon Tuitt, who missed the entire season because of a knee injury, according to the team.
Tuitt had knee surgery in September, and according to reports, it was an injury that built up over time. Tuitt was also dealing with a personal tragedy, as his brother, Richard Bartlett III, 23, was killed in a hit-and-run car accident in June.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bartlett died after he was struck by a car while trying to secure a mattress and box spring to the top of a vehicle along McGinnis Ferry Road about 9:30 p.m. on June 2. The hit-and-run remains under investigation.
Keith Butler, who recently retired, was on 93.7 The Fan on Monday and he was asked if he thinks Tuitt will be back in 2022.
“I really don’t know. That’s going to be up to (Art) Rooney II. I have no idea," Butler said. "I don’t know where he is set mentally. That’s something very private. We didn’t know a whole lot about (it). We just took it for granted that the thing that happened to him and his family was very hard on him and he struggled with it. I hope he comes back for the team. I don’t know if he will.”
Tuitt has a $13.9 million cap hit in 2022.