Pittsburgh Steelers’ CB Joe Haden has tested positive for COVID, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. That all but guarantees he will miss the first round of the playoffs.
NFL protocol mandates players who test positive must be out for at least ten days. The playoffs are in 7-8 days, meaning Haden won’t get cleared in time. The earliest he could be back for is the Divisional Round should the Steelers advance.
Cameron Sutton is likely to start in Haden’s place as the team’s left cornerback.
It’s unclear if any other Steelers have or will test positive. Or if any players will be headed to the Reserve/COVID list for being close contacts. Any of the latter would be ruled out of tomorrow’s game, though they’d have enough time to get cleared for the postseason.
Haden has appeared in just one playoff game throughout his 11 year career.
Our original story is below.
Saturday morning, Joe Haden sent out a pair of ominous-looking tweets. Now, we have some clarification of what he was referring to. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Haden has been flagged due to a “COVID situation,” though the specifics are unclear.
Here’s what Haden tweeted out earlier today.
Obviously, there’s still plenty to be reported. What does Haden being “flagged” mean? Is this a close-contact situation or is this a positive (or inconclusive) test?
Regardless, it sounds like Haden is going to sit out of tomorrow’s finale against the Browns. He was unlikely to play a full number of snaps anyway with the Steelers having the CB depth to rest a veteran guy like Haden. But his situation for next weekend’s Wild Card weekend is certainly worth monitoring. If Haden tested positive for the virus, he almost surely won’t be eligible to play in the first round of the playoffs. It’s the same situation Browns’ CB Denzel Ward is facing should Cleveland make the postseason.
Haden will end his 2020 regular season appearing in 14 games, recording 52 tackles and two interceptions, including a pick-six against the Baltimore Ravens.
There will have to be more updates to Haden’s situation in the coming hours. We’ll keep you posted.