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Shaun Suisham Tears ACL in Hall of Fame Game

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens

There isn’t a franchise in the NFL that doesn’t fear the unpredictability that comes with a fifth preseason game, and for good reason.

Last night during the exhibitional Hall of Fame Game, Pittsburgh Steelers placekicker Shaun Suisham left the field after attempting to tackle Minnesota Vikings return man Marcus Sherels on a kickoff. Some time later, it was confirmed that Suisham tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2015 season.

The outcome must be frustrating for the Steelers on a number of fronts. Because of Suisham’s status as a special teams, well, specialist, the team did not carry a backup on its roster into this season, meaning Pittsburgh will need to conduct kicker trials over the next month to find an adequate replacement.

Secondly, the fact that the injury occurred on a meaningless play in an essentially meaningless game has prompted fresh calls – mostly from Steeler fans – to reduce the length of the preseason.

Sherels already had a Steelers defender draped over him and appeared to be heading out of bounds before Suisham came in to complete the tackle, spiking his kicking knee into the turf in the process.

The baby-faced 33-year-old has been with the Steelers since 2010, and has established a reputation for being automatic inside fifty yards, and damn near awful outside that mark.

Despite spending half his season inside Heinz Field – notorious for being the toughest stadium to kick field goals because of its open-ended seating and persistently windy conditions – Suisham set a franchise record of almost 94% on attempted kicks in 2013.

Unfortunately for him, being a kicker in the NFL doesn’t exactly come with a ton of job security, and the Steelers are expected to hold kicker workouts as early as Tuesday in an attempt to find a replacement. Jay Feely, Garrett Hartley and Alex Henery are all expected to be called in for tryouts.

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