The Pittsburgh Steelers Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans was postponed Thursday morning and that means both teams are essentially on their bye weeks until more clarification on the topic is released. During his Thursday Zoom press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if the players will be off on Friday and if the NFL has yet to give him or the organization any indication yet if this week will indeed serve as the team’s 2020 bye week, or if the original one in Week 8 will still stand.
“The players are off the remainder of the weekend,” Tomlin said on Thursday. “I have had some information regarding potentially what the future looks like, but it is just hypothetical at this juncture. It doesn’t service any purpose for me to get into any details.”
Many hypotheticals include the Steelers playing their scheduled Week 7 road game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, which is Pittsburgh’s originally scheduled bye week. That would then open Week 7 for a rescheduled game against the Titans as that is their scheduled bye week.
A legitimate question several have about this week being the Steelers bye week for 2020 revolves around the CBA staying that players must have four consecutive days off during a bye week. The Steelers practiced on Thursday so one would think the team would now need to be off through Monday for Week 4 to qualify as the team’s bye week. On Thursday, Tomlin was asked if the players still must get off four consecutive days this week to constitute this week being a bye week.
“They are off the remainder of the weekend,” Tomlin said. “We had a bonus day scheduled for Monday.”
Had? Not sure of the context of that, but we’ll see. It will now be interesting to see if the Steelers wind up practicing on Monday and if in the meantime we get any sort of clarification from the NFL on if indeed Week 4 now qualifies as potentially being the team’s official bye week for 2020.
Regardless, the Steelers players won’t be allowed to travel anywhere the rest of this week, according to what Tomlin said on Thursday
“The rules are different, but to my understanding, the rules will be different for all of us,” Tomlin said. “There will be daily COVID testing throughout this weekend, so the guys have to remain local. We understand that. We understand the environment we are in, and we plan to adhere to it.”
Tomlin obviously wasn’t in full disclosure mode on Thursday as he probably knows more about what could potentially happen with the team’s schedule and the rescheduling of the team’s game against the Titans. Later during his press conference, he was asked if he knows if there are any plans currently in place if teams around the NFL can’t play all 16 games due to the pandemic.
“I’m not aware of any developing plans,” Tomlin said. “I know we had hypothetical conversations during the summer for such an event, so they have things in place in terms of playoff tiering if we move in that direction. But I think that is everyone’s hope that that doesn’t come to fruition.”
As for any other hypotheticals related to the Steelers schedule following the postponement of the team’s Week 4 game against the Titans, he didn’t even want to speculate on when he might next hear from the NFL when asked to.
“You’re right, I wish not to speculate,” Tomlin said.
For whatever it is worth, Tomlin did state that this week is a bye week during his Thursday press conference when talking about how disappointed he is that the Week 4 game against the Titans needed to be postponed.
“I’m disappointed because we were preparing to play, and we’re not getting an opportunity to,” Tomlin said. “But, we understand the nature of this environment we’re in in 2020, so we are just adjusting accordingly. There’s disappointment, no question. We’ve worked extremely hard at the beginning portion of this week in preparation for what we thought was an opportunity against an undefeated team in their venue.
“You lean in on those opportunities. We’re not getting the opportunity to do that. Instead, we are getting a bye week. We’re going to make the best of that. We have every intention of getting the appropriate rest and taking care of those that need to be mended in any way.”