Steelers’ star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick could miss Sunday’s game against the Jets after being placed in concussion protocol. This would be a huge blow to a defense already missing its top defender in T.J. Watt. Head coach Mike Tomlin announced Minkah will have to go through the league’s five-step protocol in order to suit up on Sunday.
The injury is believed to have happened during the Steelers’ Thursday night game in Cleveland and led to Fitzpatrick being placed in concussion protocol. Doctors assessed the safety after the game.
What Fitzpatrick brings to the table?
Fitzpatrick’s start to the 2022 season has been nothing short of spectacular. The five-year veteran picked off Joe Burrow on the first play of the game for a touchdown in Week 1. He also blocked a point-after attempt to force overtime which resulted in the Steelers upsetting the Bengals. His performance in Week 1 led to him being named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
He followed that performance by picking off Mac Jones in Week 2 against the Patriots. Through the team’s first three games, the former Dolphins first-round pick has 24 tackles and two pass breakups.
If the Pro-Bowl safety is not cleared in time to play Sunday, second-year defensive back Tre Norwood would start in his place. Norwood’s been a crucial element to the special team’s unit and has played in 35% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps in Week 1. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Other key Steelers injuries
Three other Steelers players are also in jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, offensive guard Kevin Dotson and punter Pressley Harvin are dealing with the injury bug. Witherspoon left Thursday’s game hobbled with a hamstring injury. His availability for Sunday will be determined from practice participation according to Mike Tomlin.
Dotson is dealing with an ankle injury although Tomlin was not too concerned about long term effects. Harvin was listed with a hip injury with some inflammation. The team has reportedly signed Jordan Berry to their practice squad in preparation Harvin will not play this weekend.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EST against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium. You can check out more Steelers content right here.
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