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Mike Tomlin is 'excited and optimistic' about the possible return of Stephon Tuitt

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Stephon Tuitt's status for the 2022 season is still up in the air, but Mike Tomlin said at the NFL Owners Meetings on Sunday in Palm Beach, Fla. that he is "excited and optimistic" about the possible return of Tuitt, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

While Tomlin is hopeful, he mentioned that he doesn't have any "definitive information" regarding Tuitt's participation in 2022.

Tuitt missed the entire 2021 season with a knee injury, but he 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.

Per Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, Tuitt's Pine Township home is under contract to be sold, according to real estate and property records. The home was listed for sale on Jan. 16 and placed under contract on Jan. 22.

The news that Tuitt is selling his house in the Pittsburgh area doesn't mean he's done with the Steelers, but it is noteworthy.

The Steelers really missed Tuitt's presence on the defensive line last season, as they ranked 32nd in the league in run defense (143.8) and yards per carry (5.0). Regardless if Tuitt returns, the Steelers are getting old on the defensive line and could be in play for one of the Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis or Devonte Wyatt at 20th overall.

Tuitt is signed through 2022 and has a base salary of more than $9 million. His cap hit is over $13.975 after a restructuring last year pushed more of a cap hit into this season. According to, the Steelers will have $9,680,750 in dead cap space this year if Tuitt retires. It would also free up $4,295,000 in cap room.

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