Longtime Steelers defensive lineman Chris Hoke will have neck surgery, ending his season and perhaps his NFL career, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.
Hoke, in his second consecutive start for injured Casey Hampton at nose tackle, left the Oct. 16 game against Jacksonville with what was described as a "stinger" in his neck. He has not played since.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Monday that Hoke was being re-examined by a doctor that day. Hoke has since been replaced as the backup nose tackle by Steve McLendon.
Hoke, 35, made the Steelers as an undrafted rookie from Brigham Young in 2001 and, after going on and off the practice squad, earned a permanent roster spot in 2002.
He had his most extensive play during the 2004 season after Hampton was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. Hoke started 12 games that season, including two in the post-season. He has started 18 games and played in 114 with the Steelers, his only NFL team.
Ed Bouchette: email@example.com and on Twitter @EdBouchette. First Published December 6, 2011 5:00 AM