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: How many Steelers players who were placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 List tested positive?
In a surprise announcement, given the focus on the outbreak of the coronavirus within the Baltimore Ravens organization, it was revealed that the Steelers had placed three players on the Reserve/Covid-19 List themselves.
The list includes all linemen, one on the offensive side of the ball—swing tackle Jerald Hawkins, who previously spent time on the list as a high-risk close contact of tight end Vance McDonald—and two on defense—starter Stephon Tuitt and reserve Isaiah Buggs.
It is not necessarily the case that any of them tested positive, although perhaps the odds favor the likelihood that at least one of them did and the others were close contacts. It is also, unfortunately, possible that all three of them tested positive.
If they were close contacts of a positive case, then it depends upon when that close contact occurred as to whether or not they would be eligible to play on Tuesday. In actuality, the close contact would have had to have occurred on at least Wednesday at the latest, though given that the Steelers had Thanksgiving off, any close contact almost surely would have occurred on Wednesday or earlier.
A high-risk close contact of a positive case is eligible to return five days after their last contact, so from Wednesday, five days after that would bring us to Tuesday. Let’s just say that if they themselves tested positive, it is very unlikely—very very unlikely—that they would be cleared in time. And in fact they would also be in serious jeopardy of missing the next game, too.