Pittsburgh Steelers place Zach Banner, Stephon Tuitt, Anthony McFarland on IR, add Karl Joseph to practice squad

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without two starters for at least the first three weeks of the season after the team placed right tackle Zach Banner and defensive end Stephon Tuitt on the injured reserve list Wednesday.

The Steelers also placed running back Anthony McFarland, who was trending to be a top backup for Najee Harris, on IR. His injury is unknown. The trio won't be eligible to return until Week 4 at Green Bay.

Tuitt hasn't practiced all training camp, sometimes doing light conditioning drills with T.J. Watt off to the side, and sometimes not participating at all. He's dealing with a knee injury, defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Wednesday. Tuitt, 28, is also grieving the death of his younger brother in a hit-and-run accident earlier this year.

"His knee is bothering him right now, as far as I know," Butler said. "I don't exactly know everything about his knee. I just know it's slowing him down right now.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know how I'd handle my mom watching her son die. That would be, I don't know how you handle that. I'm not sure what to tell you.

"His knee is bothering him a little bit, he might be a little bit overweight and what's he's dealing with with his brother. We hope to get him back, and I think we will get him back, but I don't know when I can tell you he's coming back."

Chris Wormley is Tuitt's primary backup and is slated to fill in for him.

Banner tore an ACL against the New York Giants late in last year's season opener and had a setback in his recovery. He played just 12 snaps in the preseason and didn't travel with the team to Carolina for the preseason finale. Coach Mike Tomlin declined to elaborate on Banner's status, only saying that he stayed behind to receive medical treatment.

With Banner's absence, rookie tackle Dan Moore Jr. is likely to see increased playing time. Moore could either plug into Banner's vacant spot on the right side or the team could move Chuks Okorafor back to the right side and put Moore at left. The Steelers also have the option of using veteran tackle Joe Haeg.

In corresponding moves, the Steelers signed offensive linemen Rashaad Coward and B.J. Finney and cornerback Arthur Maulet, giving both positions much-needed depth entering the Week 1 matchup against Buffalo.

The Steelers also signed former first-round draft pick Karl Joseph to their practice squad on Wednesday.

Joseph, who visited with the Steelers earlier this year, makes for a solid depth signing for a team that coveted safety help in the offseason.

He has made 49 career starts over five seasons, including five in 14 games last season with the Cleveland Browns.

After an injury-plagued training camp limited his preseason, Joseph was released by the Raiders -- who drafted him in 2016 -- on Tuesday.