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Steelers Activate Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Williams, Others from COVID-Reserve List

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The Steelers have officially activated Ben Roethlisberger, Jerald Hawkins, Vince Williams, and Jaylon Samuels from the COVID-Reserve list, the team announced Saturday morning.

These players, who are now eligible to play on Sunday against Cincinnati, were all placed on the list and forced to quarantine themselves away from the rest of the team following Vance McDonald’s positive test. Even though they did not test positive themselves, contact tracing determined these players needed to quarantine.

There is still no word on when Vance McDonald will be able to return to the team.

Head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media about how this week was different from others in terms of preparation and how they were handling having several key players unable to physical be with the team. Tomlin also defended his decision to play McDonald just a couple days after he missed practice with what was listed as a “sickness” on the injury report.

Steelers

T.J. Watt Owns Second-Best Defensive Player of the Year Odds

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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt holds the second-best odds in the league to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year at 7/4, courtesy of BetOnline.

Watt’s nine sacks are tied for the third-most in the NFL, and he is tied for second with 14 tackles-for-loss. He also has 32 total tackles, an interception and a league-leading 30 hits on the quarterback.

Three other Steelers defenders are also listed as contenders for the award, with defensive end Cam Heyward (25/1), defensive end Stephon Tuitt (25/1) and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (33/1) all trailing Watt.

The only defender with better odds than Watt is Pittsburgh native and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is seeking his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award. Donald leads the NFL with ten sacks.

Watt finished tied for third in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2019 with Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaw Barrett. Watt led the league with eight forced fumbles and recorded 14.5 sacks, but New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore ultimately took home the honor.

Watt has been selected to two Pro Bowls, and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2019. He has also received NFL Defensive Player of the Week honors three times.

His brother J.J. of the Houston Texans saw his odds shorten to 33/1 following a dominant showing on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions, where he recorded four tackles and a pick-six.

Watt will look to improve upon his candidacy when the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday afternoon. He has 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in seven career games versus Baltimore.

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Matt Canada Will Be Able to Coach for Steelers vs. Ravens on Wednesday

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While the Baltimore Ravens will get a handful of players back onto the field with their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers pushed back to Wednesday, the Steelers will also be getting a benefit from the arrangement.


Quarterbacks coach Matt Canada, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week and was expected to miss the game when it was scheduled for Tuesday, will be able to coach, Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said on Tuesday.

Canada, the Steelers’ first-year quarterbacks coach, has been credited for making overall schematic changes to the Steelers’ offense coming into this season, though offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner calls plays on game days.

The Steelers will still be without special teams coordinator Danny Smith, who also tested positive last week. Smith will be replaced by assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart.

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TV Forces Steelers Into Pair of Weekday Afternoon Games

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Get ready for some weekday afternoon football.

The Steelers’ Week 12 game against the Baltimore Ravens has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Dec. 2 and will kick off from Heinz Field at 3:40 p.m.

As a result of that postponement, the Steelers’ Week 13 game against the Washington Football Team has been moved from Sunday to Monday, Dec. 7 and that game will kick off at 5 p.m.

Both of the early afternoon weeknight times are a result of television commitments. NBC, which will broadcast the game against the Ravens on Wednesday, did not wish to preempt its coverage of the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

A broadcast network has not been announced for the Steelers’ Week 13 game against Washington, but the 5 p.m. start time is necessary because ESPN holds an exclusive national broadcast window for their Monday Night Football franchise. The Buffalo Bills will play the San Francisco 49ers in that game.

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