The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t had the best luck when it comes to COVID-19 throughout the 2020 regular season. No, not that they have suffered tremendous issues with players testing positive or being high-risk contacts, but because of other teams.
It was the Tennessee Titans’ outbreak which derailed the Steelers’ bye week to Week 4.
It was the Baltimore Ravens’ outbreak which moved a game scheduled for Thanksgiving night to the following Wednesday, which resulted in the Steelers playing 3 games in 12 days.
Now, as the Steelers prepare to play the Cleveland Browns in Week 17, there is a potential outbreak happening in Cleveland.
Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports the Browns had two more positive tests from players Thursday, not the direction the team, or the league, was hoping for at this juncture of the season.
One of the #Browns players who tested positive was a high-risk close contact with someone outside the building.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 31, 2020
On the plus side: The #Browns are hopeful they'll get back all the receivers today who were close contacts and missed last week's game. https://t.co/tFveKP7RT7
If there is any good news in this situation, the Browns are hopeful they will be able to meet and go through practice later this afternoon/evening, like they did Wednesday.
While the hope is the NFL’s contact tracing and protocols will stop an outbreak before it starts, the league has to be extremely concerned with this situation. Why? Where are you going to put the game if it needed to be moved? Would you move it to Monday, telling the playoff-bound Steelers they would have to prepare on a short week for a postseason game? Talk about unfair. The thought of the NFL creating a Week 18 is long gone at this point. You have to wonder if the league would tell the Browns they have to find a way to field a team, no matter what.
The hope is the league doesn’t have to worry about this and the Browns’ issues don’t turn into an outbreak. Nonetheless, if an outbreak does occur it would be an absolute nightmare for the NFL.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Browns in Week 17.
The two players have tested positive for the Browns: