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2020 South Side Questions: Will Steelers’ Game-Week Preparation Be Affected By Covid-19 Protocols?

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 the Steelers’ game-week preparation by affected by limitations of Covid-19 protocols?

As you’ve surely heard by now, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey announced yesterday that he tested positive for Covid-19. This is relevant because the test that drew a positive was taken on Sunday morning before he played against the Steelers, so he played that game with a Covid-19 containing a viral load significant enough to trigger a positive test.

As part of the protocols that are in place, the Steelers worked virtually yesterday and schedule media appearances were cancelled for the day. I’m not entirely clear whether or not there will be media appearances from players today, though I would imagine there will be, and we should have Mike Tomlin’s press conference.

The league will have to do contact tracing and figure out if any Steelers player was a ‘close contact’ person relative to Humphrey. While that would not have happened within a game (or at least is exceedingly unlikely), it’s unknown if anybody would have had any prolonged contact before or after the game. If so, they would have to self-isolate.

I don’t have all the protocols handy, and frankly, they change on a nearly weekly basis at this point, so I don’t exactly know all the details as to how a player on another team testing positive after a game affects how the opposing team must operate for the following week. I would assume that a lot of people share these same questions—hence it being the subject of today’s daily question.

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