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Steelers promote James Washington off Reserve/COVID List, release John Houston

The Pittsburgh Steelers welcome back third year wide receiver James Washington off the COVID/Reserve List.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the early stages of their 2020 Training Camp, and things have been different, to say the least. The Steelers aren’t at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, they don’t have fans cheering them on as they head to practice and they certainly aren’t used to having to be tested for a communicable disease every time they step into the team facility.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the sports landscape, and as the NFL looks to navigate these uncharted waters it becomes clear there will be some bumps in the road. One of those bumps are when a player, or players, test positive for the virus.

When a player tests positive they are placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Being placed on the list is one thing, how long you stay on it is another. Depending on if the player was just around someone who was positive, an asymptomatic carrier or symptomatic carrier depends on the length of time they are away from the facility.

For the Steelers, they have had four players go onto the list since the start of training camp:

Aarion Springs
Justin Layne
James Washington
Jaylen Samuels

Springs was taken off the list earlier this week, then released, and Washington was taken off the list Friday.

Since teams will fill the vacant roster spot when a player is on the Reserve/COVID list, the Steelers released linebacker John Houston to allow Washington to return.

John Houston was an undrafted rookie free agent out of USC. The linebacker played four years for the Trojans where he had 271 tackles, 5 sacks, an interception, and two fumble recoveries. Houston was projected outside of the top 20 inside linebacker in the 2020 draft with his size being a concern.

The Steelers will welcome back Washington so he can begin getting to work with the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and others. As for Layne and Samuels, they remain on the Reserve/COVID list awaiting their chance to return.

In the meantime, stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they continue their preparations for the upcoming regular season.