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.