Steelers React to Hawkins, McGee Injuries

Some wonder if OTAs are worth risk for veterans

Josh Rowntree
May 31, 2018 - 2:25 pm
Steelers TE Jake McGee during OTAs

Josh Rowntree

Categories: 

The fifth day of Steelers OTAs was a tough one. Offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins sustained a left knee injury that is believed to be serious. 

“It sucks, man,” offensive guard David DeCastro said. "That hurts. We were just talking about how well ‘Hawk' was playing. Football is a brutal game. It really is. A young guy that’s made some good strides and had some good reps for us last year. You just feel for him, feel for this team.” 

ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler reports Hawkins suffered a torn quad muscle. 

If so, a torn quad muscle is projected to take 4-6 months to recover from, potentially ending Hawkins’ third season in the NFL. He has only played 48 snaps in the NFL, all last year.

In his place, third-round pick Chukwuma Okorafor is expected to take over at backup tackle.

"Obviously, ‘Chuks' has got a big role to fill,” DeCastro said. "We’ve got a good group, a good coach and we’ll get him ready.”

“He looks good,” DeCastro added "He can move really well and has a prototypical body type. I look forward to seeing him put some pads on and learn. I’m excited to watch him grow.

Tight end Jake McGee also left practice with what NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo is reporting to be a torn Achilles. McGee seemed to reinforce the report via his Twitter account. 

While McGee and Hawkins are at points in their careers where OTAs are very beneficial, some wonder if it’s a risk for veterans.

“As much as we get the chance to be up here, I want to be up here,” cornerback Joe Haden said. "Getting that work, on the field, working with my teammates. That might not be others guy’s ways. They think that maybe they can prevent stuff. But, when I’m out here, I’m just going for it.”

DeCastro understands why veterans like Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown have skipped the majority of workouts.

"Even if they were here, without pads, it’s not much,” he said. "You just use this really to get in shape. Obviously, the young guys are learning the offense and learning the little techniques here and there.”

"Guys have got a pretty good pace and good understanding of cooperation out here,” DeCastro added. "Every now and then guys go a little too hard but, at the same time, it’s football. You can never plan on it, you never know when it’s going to happen. You can’t live your life scared. At the same time, it’s tough. But it’s part of it.”

Hear more from David DeCastro below.