The Steelers had six players that were held out of practice on Saturday due to the league’s COVID-19 protocol, general manger Kevin Colbert announced on Sunday morning, but all are expected to return to the field on Monday.
Colbert’s statement closely followed a league announcement on Sunday that the NFL’s testing facility in New Jersey returned a significant number of positive tests on Saturday, and suggested that there could have been false positives in the sample.
“We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests,” the league’s statement read.
The Steelers practiced later in the day on Saturday, prompting the team to hold players from practice, but have not and do not plan to put any on the COVID-19 reserve list.
“On Saturday, we had six players absent from practice due to our adherence to NFL COVID-19 protocol,” Colbert said. “None of those players were required to be placed on Reserve/COVID-19 and will be returning to meeting [Sunday] and practice on Monday.”
The most notable players with otherwise unexplained absences on Saturday were starting running back James Conner and defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Both players were in attendance at Heinz Field, but did not practice. It’s unclear if a testing-related issue is the reason for them not practicing.
The Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets all reported similar testing situations on Sunday.
The Steelers have not had a player on the COVID-19 list since Jaylen Samuels was activated on Aug. 13.