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2020 South Side Questions: Will Diontae Johnson Be Available Against Eagles?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will Diontae Johnson be available to the Steelers against the Eagles (and might he have been available yesterday)?

If there is one potential side effect of the Steelers have an unexpected bye week, it is the possibility that they will have wide receiver Diontae Johnson available to them in a situation in which they might otherwise have not in their next game.

Johnson suffered a concussion on an end-around in the second quarter of a victory over the Houston Texans last week. He was in the concussions protocol last week, but appeared to be practicing in some capacity already by Thursday, which was the final day that the team practiced before the game against the Tennessee Titans was delayed until later in the season.

The fact that he was on the field and in a helmet, however, does not mean either that he had cleared the concussion protocol or that he was sure to have cleared the concussion protocol by what would have been the kickoff for the Titans game.

It is a necessary step in the protocol process, although there is no indication that he had any kind of setback. The fact that he was practicing is a good indication that he should be available against the Eagles. Obviously, it’s an indication that it is in the realm of possibility that he would have been available yesterday. He may or may not be in the concussion protocol now. We probably won’t find out until tomorrow.

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