(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
In 2019, Stephon Tuitt suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Prior to the devastating injury, Tuitt was dominating with three and a half sacks and six quarterback hits through five weeks.
Tuitt left off where he started in 2019 and had an unbelievable season in 2020. Tuitt had career-highs in sacks (11), tackles for a loss (10) and quarterback hits (25). It's honestly mind-boggling how Tuitt wasn't named to the Pro Bowl this year with those kinds of numbers. His efforts in 2020 didn't go completely unnoticed, however.
On Monday, the Steelers announced that Tuitt is the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, an award that is voted on by the players and given to a player who has shown courage either coming back from an injury or a life-altering situation. Steelers President Art Rooney II presented the award to Tuitt on Tuesday during a Zoom call, congratulating him on the perseverance he displayed in battling through adversity.
"It's not fun to be injured or not being out there with the boys performing the sport we truly love," Tuitt said via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "Going through the process I was a little disappointed. I was very excited to have a good year, and I was. But it got cut short and that is life. Things happen. But the thing was I had a teammate of mine, Cam Heyward, who went through the same process and watching him come back from it and be the player he ended up being, it gave me the confidence to hit rehab hard."
Heyward has been named to the Pro Bowl four times and was selected first-team All-Pro in 2017 and 2019 since suffering a pectoral injury against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10 of the 2016 season. As mentioned above, Tuitt got snubbed from the Pro Bowl. The All-Pro selections haven't come out yet, but Tuitt at the very least should be listed, whether it be first-team, second-team, or honorable mention.
"I worked extremely hard to make sure when I came back I would be able to produce for the team," Tuitt said. "Every time I am on the field, I always produce. To be able to do it for a full season is always a goal of mine. I was able to do it, just some unfortunate circumstances happened to derail me from time to time. To be able to overcome them, work hard, and surround myself with my teammates who helped me on and off the field with my highs and lows was a great opportunity to represent the Steelers, come back and produce for the team and get us back to the playoffs."
At the luncheon honoring Tuitt for the award, Mike Tomlin praised Tuitt for his career year after overcoming misfortunes.
"I can't say enough about this man," Tomlin said. "It's been awesome to watch him fight his way back from those circumstances. And really, and this is probably the most amazing element of it, really pick up where he has left off. Stephon Tuitt has been a dominant force for us all year. I can't say enough about his efforts, contribution, productivity. What a great representative of us, what a great representative of the Ed Block Courage Award."