Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday.
Tuitt, 29, didn't play last season after his brother, Richard Bartlett III, was killed in a hit-and-run in June 2021.
"His success both on and off the field speaks volumes for who he is as a person and a player," new general manager Omar Khan said in a statement. "Stephon had always handled himself with class and maturity as he continues to be a great husband, father, son and family man in his personal life."
Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo
A number of factors lead <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> DL Stephon Tuitt to announce his retirement. He’s been through plenty the last year. Wishing him the best in the next phase of his life. <a href="https://t.co/JQr6Wqvs73">https://t.co/JQr6Wqvs73</a>
Aditi Kinkhabwala @AKinkhabwala
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> DE Stephon Tuitt is retiring. <br>From the minute he was drafted, he’s been a class act. Polite, engaging, always available and always ready w/ a smile. It’s been the most taxing of years and you deserve all the joy the world holds, <a href="https://twitter.com/DOCnation_7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DOCnation_7</a>. Best of luck! <a href="https://t.co/RReOg8Ndyb">pic.twitter.com/RReOg8Ndyb</a>
Tuitt spent his entire eight-year career with the Steelers, registering 34.5 sacks, 48 tackles for loss and 94 quarterback hits during his time in the Steel City. He had his best year in 2020, posting a career-high 11 sacks.
But injuries also became a part of his story in recent years. A torn pectoral muscle limited him to just six games in 2019, and he had knee surgery in summer 2021.
His retirement leaves an already thin defense even further stretched:
There are now major questions about who will take his place on the defensive line alongside Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu. Rookie third-round pick DeMarvin Leal should get a crack at legitimate playing time, while Chris Wormley (seven sacks last year) will likely start. Isaiahh Loudermilk (one sack in 2021) could play a bigger role as well.