Steelers’ Stephon Tuitt Announces Retirement From NFL at Age 29

Stephon Tuitt

Andy Lyons/Getty Images Stephon Tuitt of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Jeremy Hill of the Cincinnati Bengals.

On Wednesday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that veteran defensive end Stephon Tuitt has decided to retire from playing football.

Tuitt made the announcement via a written statement posted to the team’s website.

“With respect to the Steelers organization, my teammates, and coaches I would like to officially announce that I have come to the decision to retire from the NFL,” said Tuitt. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to represent the city of Pittsburgh for the past eight seasons, and am blessed to leave this game with my health. After the tragic loss of my brother Richard, and upon completing my degree from the University of Notre Dame, I know I am being called to move beyond the sport of football. I want to thank everyone for the love and support they have shown both on and off the field, and again want to thank The Rooney Family, Coach Tomlin, and the entire Pittsburgh organization. It was an honor and a privilege to play for this historic team. Go Steelers.

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New Steelers general manager Omar Khan also issued a statement, which read in part:

“I want to thank Stephon for all he did for the Steelers during his eight-year career in Pittsburgh,” said Khan. “Now that he has informed us he is retiring from football, we are all thrilled to see what he becomes as a person and professional after graduating from Notre Dame this past month. We are excited for what lies ahead in his life and will continue to support him in any way we can.”

Stephon Tuitt Was a Second-Round Pick in 2014

Tuitt, who turned 29 last week, has been with the Steelers ever since the organization selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

He appeared in 91 regular season games with 79 starts and finished his career with 246 total tackles (176 solo), including 93 quarterback hits, 48 tackles for a loss, 34.5 sacks and 13 passes defensed, along with six forced fumbles and an interception.

For years, Tuitt combined with Steelers All-Pro Cam Heyward to form one of the most impressive defensive end combinations in the league. But he missed all of last season in the wake of the death of his younger brother in a tragic hit-and-run accident in June 2021, with his potential return also impacted by a knee injury that became public knowledge in late August 2021.

The Steelers Save More Than $9 Million in Salary

Tuitt was entering the final year of a five-year contract extension he signed in 2017, a deal valued at a total of $60 million, per The Steelers will save the $9,048,560 in salary that Tuitt was scheduled to earn in 2022, though the team will take a dead money cap charge of $4,925,750.

Tuitt retires while still in the prime of his career. In May 2021, Pro Football Focus rated him as the 11th-best defensive lineman in the NFL, part of a list that also included Steelers defenders Cam Heyward and Tyson Alualu.

As for the future of the position, the team used a third-round pick on Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal in the 2022 NFL Draft and also has 2021 fifth-round pick Isaiahh Loudermilk, among other options.

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