Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt is calling it a career at 29 years old.
The former second-round pick announced his decision to retire Wednesday.
"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 form the NFL," Tuitt wrote in a statement. "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 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."
His younger brother, Richard, died in a car accident last June.
Tuitt was a stalwart in the middle of the Steelers defense, owning the ability to win one-on-ones and penetrate up the gut. He compiled 34.5 sacks and 246 tackles, including 48 for loss, in his career in Pittsburgh. Tuitt finishes his career at No. 20 on the Steelers' all-time sack list.
Tuitt gobbled up a career-high 11 sacks in 2020 but missed all of last season due to a knee injury.
"I want to thank Stephon for all he did for the Steelers during his eight-year career in Pittsburgh," Steelers general manager Omar Khan said in a statement. "His success both on and off the field speaks volumes for who he is as a person and a player. Stephon has always handled himself with class and maturity as he continues to be a great husband, father, son and family man in his personal life. 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."
Tuitt's retirement leaves a big hole up front for an already thin defensive line in Pittsburgh that struggled without him to slow the run last season.