Steelers’ Chuks Okorafor unsure why he was Sunday inactive, takes it in stride |

Steelers’ Chuks Okorafor unsure why he was Sunday inactive, takes it in stride

Chris Adamski
In this Aug. 25, 2018, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Chuks Okorafor plays against the Tennessee Titans in a preseason football game. After being avctivated for all 16 games of his rookie 2018 season, Okorafor was a healthy scratch for the 2019 opener.

Sunday, for the first time in his NFL career, Chuks Okorafor was not activated to play during a Pittsburgh Steelers game.

The 2018 third-round pick, apparently, has been surpassed on the offensive tackle depth chart by Zach Banner.

“It is what it is,” Okorafor said Monday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “I can’t really be mad or upset about it. It is what it is.”

Okorafor was in uniform for all 16 games of his rookie season. He played at least a snap in 13 of them. Okorafor started the Nov. 25 game at the Denver Broncos at right tackle because of injuries to the Steelers’ top two right tackles. Okorafor also started two other games as a blocking tight end in the Steelers’ jumbo package.

The third tight-end role was Okorafor’s primary contribution in 2018 after being drafted as a raw 20-year-old from Western Michigan.

Okorafor by no means had a poor training camp, but Banner has shown vast improvement in his 13 months with the Steelers.

“I have no idea what’s going on,” Okorafor said before positional meetings Monday. “It’s not really my call to say what happens.”

Banner politely has refused to speak with the media throughout this season.

Banner, 25, was a fourth-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2017 after playing at USC as one of the nation’s most heavily recruited tackles. Banner played eight games as a rookie in 2017 but was waived three times before arriving in Pittsburgh last August while weighing more than 370 pounds.

But Banner has slimmed down considerably, and he has improved after a year under the tutelage of former offensive line coach Mike Munchak.

The Steelers, like most NFL teams, typically dress only seven offensive linemen for games.

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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