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Steelers Place ILB Ulysees Gilbert on IR, Promote Robert Spillane

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The Steelers placed rookie linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III on injured reserve on Tuesday, ending his 2019 regular season.

Gilbert, 22 has been dealing with a back injury. He played in seven on the Steelers’ first eight games, participating exclusively on special teams. He did not record any tackles.

He spent most of the season fifth on Steelers depth chart at inside linebacker, behind Mark Barron, Devin Bush, Tyler Matakevich and Vince Williams.

The Steelers selected Gilbert out of Akron with the 207th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Steelers acquired that pick from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for tackle Marcus Gilbert earlier in the offseason.

Gilbert must spend at least eight weeks on the injured reserve, so this injury will end his regular season. He could possibly return for the postseason.

To replaced Gilbert on the 53-man roster, the Steelers promoted linebacker Robert Spillane from their practice squad.

Spillane, 23 signed with the Steelers in the offseason as a free agent after spending his rookie season with the Tennessee Titans. Spillane had 18 tackles, two sacks and two passes defended in four preseason games.

He was amongst the final round of cuts before the regular season. He was on his second stint on the Steelers’ practice squad before being promoted.

A Western Michigan alum, Spillane is the grandson of 1952 Heisman Trophy winner and former Steelers halfback Johnny Lattner.

Steelers

Titans Shut Down Practice after Multiple Positive COVID-19 Tests

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The Tennessee Titans have shut down their practices this week after multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the organization, the team announced on Tuesday in advance of their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers scheduled for this Sunday in Nashville.

The Titans had three new player positives and five new staff positives on Tuesday, and both the Titans, and their opponents from Sunday the Minnesota Vikings, have shut down practices for the week, according to a report by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely today as we follow NFL protocols related to the COVID-19 virus,” the Titans said in a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Several tests have come back positive and we are working through the process of confirming them. We will have more information [Wednesday].”

According to a report ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the NFL is shutting down the Titans’ entire week of practice until Saturday, which would obviously put the status of Sunday’s game in jeopardy.

Update, 10:31 a.m: The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement later on Tuesday morning:

“​On Tuesday morning, the Titans COVID testing results returned three new player positives and five new personnel positives. The Titans will suspend in-person club activities starting today. Likewise, the Vikings, who played the Titans on Sunday, will also suspend in-person club activities. Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments. All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.”

Update, 10:47 a.m: Kevin Seifert of ESPN has confirmed that the tests are not false positives.

Update, 11:43 a.m: The Steelers have postponed Mike Tomlin’s press conference, which was scheduled for noon.

Update, 11:50 a.m: Betting on the Steelers-Titans game has been taken off the board in several casinos, including Parx in Pennsylvania.

Update, 11:57 a.m:  Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten has released the following statement:

“We have been in contact with the NFL regarding the positive COVID-19 tests with the Tennessee Titans. We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise.

“We will provide more information when it becomes available.”

Update, 12:01 p.m: Albert Breer of NFL Network is reporting that Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen tested positive last week and is not one of the eight positive cases announced by the team on Tuesday.

Stay with Steelers Now with more on this developing story.

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Steelers LT Alejandro Villanueva Explains His Decision to Honor Alwyn Cashe

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Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva explains why decided to honor deceased US Army sergeant Alwyn Cashe on his teammate instead of joining the rest of team in honoring police shooting victim Antwon Rose, Jr via Zoom with members of the media on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

The Steelers had previously announced that the entire team would be honoring Rose, but Villanueva decided to change his mind and honor Cashe. He spoke with Mike Tomlin about that decision, but team captains Cameron Heyward and Ben Roethlisberger said they were surprised by Villanueva’s decision.

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Steelers Finish Week 3 in First Place in AFC North

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It’s early in the season, but being alone in first place can never be a bad things, and that’s where the Steelers find themselves.

The Steelers started the season 3-0 with Sunday’s 28-21 victory over the Houston Texans and Monday night, the Baltimore Ravens dropped a 34-20 decision to the Kansas City Chiefs. With the loss, the Ravens fell to 2-1, leaving the Steelers alone at the top of the division.

The Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 2010, and are at the top of the division for the first time in a while. The last time the Steelers were atop the AFC North was after the end of Week 15 in the 2018 season.

The Ravens will fall into a second-place tie with the Cleveland Browns at 2-1. The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2-1.

The Steelers will put their first-place standing and unbeaten record on the line on Sunday against a team in an identical scenario: the 3-0 Tennessee Titans, which lead the AFC North at 3-0.

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