The Pittsburgh Steelers claimed a 20-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. In that effort, the winning team saw linebacker Cole Holcomb suffer a left knee injury that will reportedly keep him out for the rest of this season.
Holcomb was carted off the field in the first half of the game. He was pursuing Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who'd just made a catch. Steelers safety Keanu Neal went for the tackle at the same time and his leg got tangled with Holcomb's. He was clearly in pain as he grabbed his left knee on the field. The linebacker's knee hyperextended so much that Amazon Prime's broadcast opted not to replay the footage.
The 27-year-old spent Thursday night in the hospital due to precaution and was discharged on Friday morning, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. While he won't return this year, he is reportedly expected to make a full recovery.
In Holcomb's absence, Kwon Alexander entered the game and secured a crucial interception on Tennessee's last offensive drive.
"We're praying for Cole," Alexander said, via ESPN. "We going to play for him. We're going to play for him for the rest of the season."
Head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters the injury was serious after the game, but didn’t provide any further details.
Holcomb began his career with the Washington Commanders, who selected him with the 173rd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of North Carolina. He entered Chapel Hill as a walk-on, playing special teams in his freshman season and breaking out as an outside linebacker in 2016.
The Florida native joined Pittsburgh in free agency this year and signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Steelers after four years in Washington. He played a majority of the team's defensive snaps through this season. He recorded 54 tackles two forced fumbles, four tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and two quarterback hits in eight games.