The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base was left scratching their heads when they saw veteran cornerback Joe Haden post the following tweets on his verified Twitter page:
I’m so pissed and sad at the same time..... stay safe out here— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) January 2, 2021
— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) January 2, 2021
Shortly after those tweets were made, members of the media who cover the Steelers were announcing Haden faced a “COVID situation” and won’t be available for the Week 17 game vs. the Cleveland Browns.
Okay, but what exactly was the situation? Was he a high risk contact? Did he test positive?
As is being reported now by Brooke Pryor of ESPN, among others, Haden tested positive for COVID-19, and will miss the Week 17 game. However, due to a recent change in the NFL’s policies, even if Haden is asymptomatic, he has to quarantine for 10 days, meaning he will also miss the Steelers’ AFC Wild Card game.
Joe Haden has tested positive for COVID-19 and won't play tomorrow, source told @DanGrazianoESPN.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 2, 2021
Updated COVID-19 protocols mandate a player who tests positive must isolate for min of 10 days, even if asymptomatic -- meaning Haden will likely be out for first round of playoffs https://t.co/aY3uJVvZhK
This is devastating news not just for Haden, but also for the Steelers’ defense. Haden, when combined with Steven Nelson, make up one of the league’s best cornerback duos. Without Haden, the Steelers will turn to Cam Sutton to fill the role and hope a combination of Sutton and Justin Layne can fill the void.
At this point the story is far from done. The Steelers, along with the NFL, will now have to go through their contact tracing protocol. If Haden was near any other teammates, they will likely be out this weekend, but doesn’t mean they will be out of the playoff game unless they test positive for the virus.
Contact tracing with Joe Haden testing positive is the next concern for the Steelers. Close contacts would have to isolate and miss practice time, but could still be available for playoffs.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 2, 2021
Between the Steelers’ new COVID-19 issues, and the Cleveland Browns having their own issues, you have to wonder what the game will look like on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
There will be plenty more to this story, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Browns, and the playoffs.