Stephon Tuitt's absence was missed last year by the Steelers defense.
The soft-spoken defensive end, who makes a lot of noise on the field, was placed on the team's reserve/injured list with a pectoral injury in mid-October in 2019. While others stepped up with him out, losing a player of his caliber has had an impact.
That impact has been visible over and over again this year, with Tuitt coming back from his injury stronger than ever.
That is why he was named the Steelers recipient of the 2020 Ed Block Courage Award. The award is voted on by the players and given to a player who has shown courage either coming back from an injury or a life-altering situation.
"It's an honor to be chosen for an award like this and an honor for my teammates to think of me," said Tuitt. "I'm humbled and I appreciate them for putting me at the forefront for this, and I appreciate the opportunity from the Steelers organization."
Pittsburgh Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt was named the 2020 Ed Block Courage Award recipient
Before his injury last year, Tuitt already recorded three and a half sacks and six quarterback hits through five weeks, before suffering the injury in Week 6. He dedicated himself to months of rehabilitation in the offseason to come back in 2020 for his best season yet.
Tuitt finished the regular season with a career-high 11 sacks, ranking second on the Steelers and seventh in the NFL. His sack of Baker Mayfield against the Browns on Sunday was the 56th Steelers sack of the season, tying a team record for most sacks in a season. He also recorded career-highs in tackles for a loss with 10 and quarterback hits with 25.
Tuitt had one of his best games of the 2020 season in a Week 8 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Tuitt finished the game with two sacks for a combined loss of 15 yards, nine tackles, including eight solo stops, three tackles for a loss, and three quarterback hurries. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance, the first time he has won the honor in his career.
"Any time you can get a great player back inside in Tuitt, and everyone knows how special he was, especially early on last year before his injury," said linebacker T.J. Watt. "To have him back in line, being able to be a penetrator, make a lot of plays, a lot of splash plays for us, it adds a whole other dynamic to this defensive front and it's going to make us a better team."
Tuitt, the Steelers second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, makes an impact off the field as well as on the field. This year he has helped multiple organizations, including the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Macedonia Family & Community Enrichment Center (FACE), Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Holy Family Institute, Crossroads Foundation, Casa San Jose and UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
About the Ed Block Courage Award: Since 1984, the Ed Block Courage Award annually honors one player from every NFL team who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Recipients are selected by a vote of their teammates to recognize both on- and off-the-field extra efforts along with their ability to overcome great adversity, whether it be personal or professional. The award is named in honor of Ed Block, the long-time head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts.
For more information on the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, visit www.edblock.org.