Getty Chukwuma Okorafor was too expensive for the Bears, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
iontae Johnson isn’t the only Pittsburgh Steelers player who got in trouble for his comments during and after the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Starting offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor landed on the hot seat after he said the Steelers should have kneeled on their final possessions instead of making unnecessary rushing plays. He will remain in this hot seat for the foreseeable future.
What caused Okorafor to speak out against the Steelers’ coaching?
The Steelers trailed 20-10 at the 9:19 mark of the fourth quarter and the game got out of reach. Okorafor was unsettled by the lack of variety in the play of Mike Tomlin and Matt Canada. As a result, Tomlin decided to bench Okorafor for the remainder of the game.
Okorafor was no longer interested in going out on his shield. However, his alleged comments had more substance than a proverbial throwing in the towel. Okorafor was visibly upset at having to block intentional plays that he felt were not getting anything in return.
The proof is in the pudding. Jaylen Warren goes for a team-high 19 rushing yards on five carries. Backup QB Mitchell Trubisky passes Najee Harris. No rushing touchdowns on the matter. The Steelers were barely able to buy a first down on the ground and their offense had a disappointing performance overall.
Okorafor’s feelings have not aged gracefully
Okorafor’s comments seemed dated after Warren and Harris combined for 166 rushing yards in a dominant performance over the Tennessee Titans. This seems to be another reason why LT Broderick Jones is threatening his spot at RT for the rest of the season.
As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported, Okorafor had this to say to the media about his relegation to the sidelines and how he plans to remedy it:
“Right now I’m taking it day by day,” Okorafor said. “I can’t tell you what will happen in three weeks or next year. Next year, next year. I’m still trying to figure out how to get out of this.”
Okorafor saw one snap against the Titans. Additionally, he will ride the pine in the upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers. His attitude is at least pointing in the right direction as he is eager to get back on the field and help the offense continue to progress.
Is there any chance Okorafor will bounce back from his words?
Coach Tomlin’s gladiator personality is fundamentally against any form of giving up. Okorafor probably wanted to send a message in a not-so-literal sense, but no matter how you break it down, Tomlin was upset about it, even if his reaction to the media was reserved.
Okorafor has collected 7 penalties this year and is tied for No. 7 at his position. Pro Football Focus gave him a pass blocking player grade of 60.4 behind 2 sacks and 11 pressures allowed.
It remains to be seen how Jones and the rest of the O-line protect Kenny Pickett against the Packers. If they struggle, Okorafor could return to his starting role. Assuming the opposite happens, he will still have another tough fight ahead of him.
Take the quiz now
Like heavy but hate the ads?
Subscribe now for an ad-free experience
More Steelers news
More stories are loading