Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt surprisingly retires from football at 29

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One of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top defensive players in recent years has opted to leave the game after missing the 2021 season.

It’s been a much-discussed subject this offseason in the Steel City. Would defensive end Stephon Tuitt, a second-round selection by Pittsburgh in 2014 who sat out the 2021 season for multiple reasons, play football for the Steelers this upcoming year?

Back in February (via SI.com’s Noah Strackbein), there appeared to optimism that the talented defender may indeed be returning to the field in 2022. “Stephon had a tough season last year,” explained then-Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert. “He was battling through a knee injury that he worked his way through.

“We put him on injured reserve. He’s had a personal situation that he’s had to deal with. We have been in contact with Stephon and we are very open to continuing to help him, that position, and his availability to us. We just hope for the best for him as he tries to return to the Steelers.”

Steelers: Stephon Tuitt retires at 29

But on Wednesday, the former University of Notre Dame standout released this statement via the organization:

Newly-appointed Steelers’ general manager Omar Khan had this to say about Tuitt:

The 6-6, 303-pound defender turned 29 years old on May 23. During his seven seasons on the field, the one-time Golden Domer played in 91 regular-season contests and rolled up 34.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, knocked down 13 passes and recorded one interception. He was also part of five playoff teams for Mike Tomlin’s squad.

After missing 10 games in 2019, Tuitt bounced back in a big way the following season and enjoyed a breakout year. He started a career-high 15 contests. He finished with 45 tackles and a personal-best 11 sacks.

But now his time on the field has come to an end. As Tuitt mentioned in his statement, “I know I am being called to move beyond the sport of football.”

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