PITTSBURGH — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin denied persistent rumors that his team inquired about brining running back Le’Veon Bell back to Pittsburgh.
Moments after his team’s narrow victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Tomlin was asked if those reports were true.
“Not to my knowledge, no,” Tomlin said.
That comes in spite of several national reports that the Steelers did, in fact reach out to the New York Jets amid concerns that the shoulder injury to running back James Conner may be more serious than originally anticipated. Even Bell himself told reporters in New York that his agent had been in contact with the Steelers.
Conner did not dress against the Colts, and according to ESPN, may also miss next Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. Tomlin did not provide an update on his status.
“I will give it to you guys on Tuesday in terms of what next week looks like and further discussions regarding him,” Tomlin said. “I’m sure there is an update, but I am not privy to it as we lean in on game time. I am focused on the guys who are playing.”
Conner’s absence was exacerbated by the loss of Benny Snell to a multi-week knee injury. After a season high in rushing yards for Conner in Week 8 against Miami, the Steelers’ running game was bottled up on Sunday.
Jaylen Samuels started and had just 10 yards on eight carries. Trey Edmunds had a greater workload running the ball, carrying 12 times for 73 yards.
Samuels was a significant contributor in the passing game, making 13 catches for 73 yards.
Report: Steelers QB Coach Matt Canada Tested Positive for COVID-19
Steelers quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network.
#Steelers QB coach Matt Canada has indeed tested #COVID positive, but I’m told by multiple sources that QB Ben Roethlisberger was not deemed a close contact who needs to self isolate. Roethlisberger already went thru this once after sitting on the plane next to a Covid+ teammate.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) November 29, 2020
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.
Matt Canada, Danny Smith Will Not Coach for Steelers vs. Ravens
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.
Reports: Steelers RB James Conner, Coach Danny Smith Test Positive for COVID-19
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.
James Conner is the #Steelers player who tested positive for #COVID, multiple sources tell me. He is awaiting a second test tomorrow to confirm these results. Contact tracing continues. And as w/ every positive case in the #NFL and country… here’s to recoveries and good health.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) November 28, 2020
Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, per sources
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) November 28, 2020
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.
More positives in Pittsburgh: One coach and one player tested positive with multiple contacts in Pittsburgh, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 28, 2020
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.