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Minkah Fitzpatrick returns to Steelers practice, talks about absence

If you are listing the top safeties in the NFL today, there wouldn’t be too many who would be above Minkah Fitzpatrick, if any at all. The Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro safety is the anchor in the back end of the defense for the black-and-gold, but he hasn’t been available during the early portions of training camp.

Fitzpatrick was at the early portions of training camp before leaving the team and tending to a personal matter with his family. What truly drove him to miss practice and instead be with his family is unknown, nor does it have to be made known to the general public, but Fitzpatrick returned to the Steelers Saturday.

Needless to say, for a football junkie like Fitzpatrick, it was good for him to get back to practice, even on a part-time basis for his first day back.

“Honestly, when you’re away from the game that you love for a while, it’s always good to get back to it, even if it’s just a few days,” said Fitzpatrick after practice Saturday at Saint Vincent College. “You definitely realize how much you love the game, how much you care about the game, but obviously you want to be there for family and for your people, but it’s good to be back.”

The one constant for Fitzpatrick throughout these difficult times has been Mike Tomlin. It was Tomlin who allowed him to sit out of practice, supported him publicly when asked why Fitzpatrick wasn’t practicing, and ultimately told him he needed to go take care of business at home.

“I said two words to him, and he knew what it was when I had to leave,” said Fitzpatrick. “He told me go. He said, ‘Go be there for your family. Go do what you got to do.’ And it wasn’t an issue at all. They were making sure I was good every day. You definitely appreciate a coach and a program that takes care of family.”

For the Steelers it was good to see No. 39 on the practice field, even if it was primarily for just individual drills. After all, it isn’t as if the veteran safety needs the physical repetitions in the early stages of training camp. However, as the team progresses towards the regular season, having Fitzpatrick in the deep secondary will be vital as the new-look secondary has to gel before the games start to count.

Thinking of the turnover among the defensive backs, it will be Minkah who is likely to be the glue which keeps everything together. Getting him back, even in a partial capacity at this stage of camp, is a huge boost not only for moral, but also for the defense.

If you missed part of Saturday’s practice, check out some of the links below which will fill you in not only on what happened in Latrobe, but what Mike Tomlin had to say after practice:

Training Camp Tracker

Players Mentioned After Saturday Practice

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