Steelers lose standout DL Stephon Tuitt for season with torn pectoral

Jack Baer

The 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers’ path to an improbable playoff berth just got a bit harder.

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Defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, one of the team’s best players this season, is out for the season after tearing a pectoral muscle in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

Tuitt exited in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and did not return.

Losing Tuitt is a tough blow for the Steelers defense. In five games before the Chargers game he had to exit early, the 303-pounder posted 22 total tackles, six tackles for loss, six QB hits and 3.5 sacks. A second-rounder out of Notre Dame in 2014, Tuitt was well on pace for a career season.

Tenth-year pro Tyson Alualu is the next man up behind Tuitt.

The Steelers bet big on their chances now and going forward without the injured Ben Roethlisberger, trading a first-round pick with top-10 potential for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and proceeding forward with Mason Rudolph, currently out with a concussion. Making the playoffs — which would probably require going at least 7-3 to close the season — and preventing a costly season for Pittsburgh could be tough without Tuitt’s presence on the interior defensive line.

Stephon Tuitt was a big part of the Steelers defense this year. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

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