A lot of football fans were leery going into the 2020 season as to how the NFL was going to pull off a season during the global pandemic. With some changes to the schedule and swapping teams bye weeks through the first 10 games of the season, the NFL has been able to manage the situation to date. But as cases of the virus are growing throughout the United States population, the NFL is naturally seeing more cases as well.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have understood this too well as they have had two games rescheduled due to COVID-19 issues with their opponents. Still hoping to play their game in Week 12 which was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night and has been rescheduled twice, the Pittsburgh Steelers are now reportedly dealing with their own COVID-19 situation as a player and a coach have now tested positive per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
More positives in Pittsburgh: One coach and one player tested positive with multiple contacts in Pittsburgh, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 28, 2020
According to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network, the two positives are one starting player and one assistant coach:
On Friday, the Steelers added three players to the Reserve/COVID-19 List in Stephon Tuitt, Isaiah Buggs, and Jerald Hawkins. For these players to go on the list Friday, they would have had information about either their testing or being in close contact on Thursday or Friday in order to be placed on the list. While it was unclear if these players had positive tests or were close contacts at the time they were placed on the list, Saturday’s report of one player and one coach could be a close contact now testing positive or a completely new case with a different player.
Exactly how the current COVID-19 situation with the Steelers will affect Tuesday’s game remains to be seen. There is still a possibility the team could play with the available players should Baltimore be cleared to make the trip to Heinz Field for Tuesday night.
UPDATE: According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, the player testing positive is running back James Conner. A player some believed could have decided to opt out for the season, Conner is cancer survivor and in a high risk category.
James Conner is the #Steelers player who tested positive for #COVID, multiple sources tell me. He is awaiting a second test tomorrow to confirm these results. Contact tracing continues. And as w/ every positive case in the #NFL and country... here’s to recoveries and good health.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) November 28, 2020
UPDATE: According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, special teams coordinator Danny Smith is the coach who has tested positive.
Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, per sources— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) November 28, 2020
Stay tuned to BTSC for continued coverage of the current COVID-19 situation with both the Steelers and Ravens has they hope to play their match up in Week 12.