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JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner Out for Steelers vs. Bengals

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The Steelers have ruled starting wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner out for this Sunday’s game at the Cincinnati Bengals and cornerback Artie Burns is doubtful.

Smith-Schuster remains in the league’s concussion protocol after suffering two helmet-to-helmet hits on the same play last Thursday against the Cleveland Browns. He also suffered a left knee injury on the same play, the prognosis of which remains unknown. 

He did not practice at all this week and will be replaced by rookie Diontae Johnson, who also suffered a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Browns, but was a full participant in practice all week.

Deon Cain, signed from the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad earlier in the week, Johnny Holton and Tevin Jones will round out the Steelers’ available wide receivers.

Conner will again be replaced by second-year back Jaylen Samuels, with rookie Benny Snell, Jr., who will be making his return from surgery on his meniscus after missing three games. Snell was a full participant in practice all week. They’ll be joined in the backfield by Trey Edmunds.

Burns, who suffered a knee injury against the Browns, was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and did not practice on Friday, making his participation unlikely.

The Steelers will also be without center Maurkice Pouncey, who will serve the first game of his two-game suspension.

Outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi, who also was concussed against the Browns, was a full participant in practice all week and is scheduled to play.

Steelers

Report: Steelers QB Coach Matt Canada Tested Positive for COVID-19

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Steelers quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network.

The Steelers announced earlier on Saturday that Canada, along with special teams coordinator Danny Smith, will not coach in the team’s game against the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday due to illnesses.

Kinkhabwala reported that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is not considered a close contact of Canada’s and will not have to isolate for five days, as he did when tight end Vance McDonald tested positive earlier this season.

Smith has also tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Steelers announced that assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart will replace Smith. They did not announce a replacement for Canada.

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Steelers

Matt Canada, Danny Smith Will Not Coach for Steelers vs. Ravens

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Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada will not participate in the team’s game Tuesday night against the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced on Saturday.

The Steelers said both coaches will not participate due to illness. Smith has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by the Post-Gazette.

Smith will be replaced by assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart, the team announced. The club did not announced a direct replacement for Canada.

The team has not had any coaches miss any games this season due to COVID-19 issues.

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Steelers

Reports: Steelers RB James Conner, Coach Danny Smith Test Positive for COVID-19

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Steelers running back James Conner and special teams coordinator Danny Smith have tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports by Adam Schefter of ESPN, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network and Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette.

Conner, the Steelers’ starting running back, is a cancer survivor. Smith, 67 is in his eighth season with the Steelers and 25th as an NFL coach.

The news comes on the heels of the team placing three players — defensive linemen Isaiah Buggs and Stephon Tuitt and tackle Jerald Hawkins — on the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday.

Tracing for close contacts is underway. Schefter reported that Conner has multiple close contacts that will have to be isolated from the team.

With the Steelers scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Tuesday, Conner, the three players placed on the COVID-19 list on Friday and all additional positive cases and close contacts will miss the game.

Conner will likely be replaced by second-year backup Benny Snell. Chris Wormley and Henry Mondeaux will fill in for Tuitt and Buggs on the defensive line, if available. Derwin Gray will be elevated to the top backup at tackle without Hawkins.

The Steelers did not practice on Friday and are not scheduled to practice on Saturday. They are scheduled to return to practice on Sunday.

The Steelers previously had guard Kevin Dotson on the COVID-19 reserve list, while tight end Vance McDonald came off the list this week after missing one game.

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