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Steelers News: The NFLPA understands the challenges of keeping players safe in the face of COVID-19

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

New York Giants v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Unable to attend most player pro days and participating in the NFL’s first virtual draft, the Steelers keep pushing forward toward a return to football activities. Just because the Steelers are unable to hold their typical OTA’s doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the response from the NFL and the Players Association after the statements made by Dr. Anthony Fauci regarding the upcoming season.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Playing in a safe environment will be a tall task for the NFL

NFL, NFLPA reject Dr. Fauci’s ‘bubble’ advice

By: Jeff Hartman, DK Pittsburgh Sports

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic a few names have dominated news streams, and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease is one of those names. It was Fauci who was a part of the United States coronavirus task force, and he did his rounds on nearly every news outlet to help educate and prepare the country for what was to come.

Thursday, Fauci was a guest on CNN to talk about the NFL, and its potential re-opening plan. Fauci believes the NFL would be wise to follow a plan similar to the NBA, putting players in a bubble city and keeping everyone together rather than travel from city to city.

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci told CNN. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”

For those who are banking on the NFL playing games this fall, even if they are in empty stadiums, Fauci’s comments certainly did not inspire confidence in those contests taking place. However, the NFL responded to Fauci’s comments via the league’s chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills. This per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network:

“Dr. Fauci has identified the important health and safety issues we and the NFL Players Association, together with our joint medical advisors, are addressing to mitigate the health risk to players, coaches and other essential personnel,” Sills said. “We are developing a comprehensive and rapid-result testing program and rigorous protocols that call for a shared responsibility from everyone inside our football ecosystem. This is based on the collective guidance of public health officials, including the White House task force, the CDC, infectious disease experts, and other sports leagues.

“Make no mistake, this is no easy task. We will make adjustments as necessary to meet the public health environment as we prepare to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel and attendees. We will be flexible and adaptable in this environment to adjust to the virus as needed.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • More from Cameron Heyward’s interview with Pittsburgh media on Thursday

Heyward on playing this season, protests & more

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

So many questions: Like everyone else, Cameron Heyward is waiting on word of what the definitive plans for the 2020 NFL season are going to entail with the COVID-19 pandemic still in the forefront.

At this point the 2020 season is anticipated to start on time with the NFL and NFLPA working on safety guidelines that fall under the recommendations of the CDC. But there are still more details to work out, and Heyward and his teammates are just waiting to hear what they are.

“I think we are just dealing with the unknown. We like to be calculated and have all of the facts before we commit to something,” said Heyward during a zoom call with local media. “With everything that keeps changing we really can’t grasp what is going on. I talk to my teammates almost every day with what is going on, what to expect. We know the NFL and NFLPA have to come to an agreement. My main thing is I want all of my guys to have the information first. I don’t want to be in a situation where we agree to something when a lot of guys are still up in the air about it.”

Heyward said he would have some concerns about playing this year because he has asthma and is a ‘bigger guy.’ But he also said he understands the risk.

“I am going to take all of the precautions,” said Heyward. “I just have to see it in writing that everyone else is taking the precautions. Whether it’s the staff, or the bus drivers. It’s a lot of moving parts that go along with it. It can’t be something that is rushed. I know the NFLPA and NFL have been working on it for a while. There are so many parts that have to be cleared before me and my family have to feel comfortable.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


Steelers 2020 Breakdown: Weeks 10 and 15, Bengals

By: Jeff Hartman, DK Pittsburgh Sports

The Steelers and Bengals have a sordid history, and rookie quarterback Joe Burrow will get indoctrinated into the rivalry when the two division rivals meet up for the first time in Week 10. The Bengals earned their top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and it is time to break down this AFC North showdown.

MATCHUP

Opponent: Bengals
2019 Record: 2-14
Overall History (W/L): 66-35, for Steelers
Last 4 Games: 4-0, for Steelers
Opening Line: Week 10, Steelers (-9.5) / Week 15, Steelers (-4)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 15 / Mon. Dec. 21
Time: 1:00 p.m. / 8:15 p.m
Location: Week 10, Pittsburgh / Week 15, Cincinnati

OUTGOING PLAYERS/ FREE-AGENT LOSSES

TE Tyler Eifert
S Clayton Fejedelem
G John Miller
DT Andrew Billings
QB Andy Dalton
OLB Nick Vigil

RETIREMENTS

N/A

FREE-AGENT ADDITIONS

DT D.J. Reader
CB Trae Waynes
SS Vonn Bell
G Xavier Su’a-Filo
CB Mackensie Alexander
CB LeShaun Sims
ILB Josh Bynes

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


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