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Steelers add Joe Haden to the NFL Reserve/COVID-19 List, Keith Butler in protocols

The same day the Steelers get six players off the COVID List, they lose one of their best defenders.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers had delivered their fans some tremendous news Wednesday when they announced six players, four of them starters, were returning to the team after being released off the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 List.

After this news hit the wire, it was refreshing to know the Steelers no longer had any players on the COVID-19 List.

But that was premature.

Why? Because just later Wednesday it was reported the Steelers now will be without cornerback Joe Haden after he was placed on the COVID-19 List.

It was in 2020 when Haden spent time on the list and missed the team’s AFC Wild Card loss to the Cleveland Browns. Fast forward to present day and there is a possibility Haden’s final game in a black and gold uniform was the Monday Night Football win over the Browns at Heinz Field.

With a positive test, it likely means Haden misses the game Sunday at 1 p.m. ET vs. the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Haden is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NFL career at the end of the season, and his future with the Steelers is certainly in doubt.

In Haden’s place will be the up-and-coming Akhello Witherspoon, who will likely have Cam Sutton playing across from him as the other starting cornerback. Steelers fans should take note as this is what the team’s cornerback situation could look like in 2022 if Witherspoon is retained at season’s end.

In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for Week 18.

UPDATE

Shortly after the news of Haden surfaced, it then became known, via Burt Lauten the director of Public Relations for the Steelers, how defensive coordinator Keith Butler is now in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.

Outside of him not being available to speak to media, it is unknown if Butler will, or won’t, be able to coach the defense from the sideline this Sunday. Stay tuned for more on this story...