By: Justin McGonigle
The Pittsburgh Steelers victory last night at MetLife Stadium didn’t come without bad news.
The team lost starting right tackle Zach Banner with what is believed to be an ACL injury. When confirmed, that will mean his 2020 season is over.
The initial diagnosis for #Steelers RT Zach Banner is a torn ACL, source said.
Banner’s face told the story. He’ll have an MRI to confirm the season-ending injury.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 15, 2020
The news of Banner’s injury comes with great sadness from Steeler Nation. Banner had struggled since entering the NFL, bouncing between teams before finally finding a home in Pittsburgh.
Banner quickly became a fan favorite last year while filling in as a blocking tight end in running situations. Because he doesn’t have an eligible receiver number, every play he would have to report as eligible to the officials. In turn the officials would have to announce that he was eligible to the stadium on several plays per game. It happened so frequently that he gained a type of cult following.
Banner found himself motivated in Pittsburgh for the first time in his NFL career. Motivated to prove he belonged after a disappointing start to his career. He dropped weight, put in the extra reps, film study, you name it. And he found himself rewarded. This past week, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin named Banner the starting right tackle. And now that’s all been taken away. For 2020, anyway.
Banner will be a free agent following 2020, but it’s likely the Steelers and Banner may agree to another one-year “prove it” contract. He loves Pittsburgh and the Steelers would love to get a starting tackle out of an investment project. It’s also likely that Banner wouldn’t be ready to practice until training camp 2021 at the earliest.
Time will tell what the next chapter is for Banner, but until then, we will pray for a speedy recovery for such a great young man.
I love you Pittsburgh.
I love this game.
We won. That’s all that matters.
I’m so pissed…
But once again, I’m motivated…
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) September 15, 2020