The Steelers tight end Jesse James left the team's 16-6 preseason win over the Titans with a back contusion during Saturday's preseason game against Tennessee, becoming the third player at the position to go down with an injury.
James suffered the injury in the second quarter while going high for a catch that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger insists should have been more accurate.The severity of the injury wasn’t known at the end of the night, but the quarterback did know that he felt regret about missing his spot with the pass.
"I was most disappointed throwing to him," said Roethlisberger, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. "We've had some good connections in the past. That's on me. He was in the right spots. I was sailing [the football] a little bit. It's one of those things where you see a big target and relax and don't think about the pinpoint accuracy. I need to do that, and I hate that he got hit because of a pass I threw tonight."
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he doesn't know the severity of the injury or if James will be available when Pittsburgh closes out the preseason Thursday against the Panthers. the subject of the "surviving the ground" catch-rule debate after his reversed touchdown in Week 15 against the New England Patriots. James has emerged as a steady option with 43 catches for 372 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. He has had a strong preseason and is known to be durable. "I'm taking care of my body. I feel good," James said on Thursday. "Getting better every day, progressing well."
It will be interesting to see if all or none of the tight ends on the team's roster will be available for Week 1.The Steelers are without Vance McDonald due to a foot injury and Xavier Grimble had hand surgery, so the team’s top three tight ends are all nicked up at the moment.