Day 5 of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) was not a successful one for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a number of players left with injuries.
It happens to every team in the league. At some point, players go down during the summer and for an extended period of time, they can’t get back up. Some injuries more significant than others, but none easy to watch or hear about.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they entered Day 5 of OTAs without any major news in the injury column. Outside of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown not participating in practice, the team had nothing to headline the Wednesday practice.
Unfortuntely, it didn’t end that way. By the end of practice, Pittsburgh would lose two players, both looking at a significant loss in time this season.
First, was backup tackle, Jerald Hawkins. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Hawkins tore his quad and could be placed on IR due to the injury.
The former fourth-round pick spent last season behind Chris Hubbard and Matt Feiler. This year, he was set to compete with Feiler and Chukwuma Okorafor for a roster spot, and potential playing time in 2018.
With Hawkins on IR, this could leave the door wide open for Okorafor to get early playing time in his career. It should boost his potential, and set a pathway for the rest of his career in Pittsburgh.
The other Steeler to go down Wednesday was tight end Jake McGee. McGee, who is said to have torn his achilles, spent last season on the practice squad. This year, though, he was expected to compete for a roster spot.
Hopes were high for the former Virginia star. Now, he’ll have to fight to prove he’s still worth a spot next season, and hope for no drawbacks during his recovery.
Pittsburgh still has a long summer left ahead of them. They’re hoping this is the end of the injuries for the year, but like always, football leaves a question mark on who will and will not be healthy come the regular season.