The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a player test positive for COVID-19, the team announced in a statement on Monday afternoon.
The Steelers had one staff member test positive before the team’s game with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, but contact tracing did not require any players to quarantine or be placed on the COVID-19 list.
“The Steelers were informed this morning that a player has tested positive for COVID-19,” team spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. “The player immediately was self-quarantined, and the organization continues to be in the NFL’s intensive protocol. We have been in contact with the NFL and medical advisors to complete the necessary contact tracing. The player will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list today.
“The health and safety of our players, coaches and staff members remain our highest priority.”
The Steelers’ tests that were read on Monday would have likely been taken on Sunday, before the team played the Cowboys. PCR tests for COVID-19, which are the most accurate form of rapid testing available, take approximately 24 hours to turn around.
The team had already been in the NFL’s intensive protocol because they had potentially been exposed the previous Sunday, when Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey tested positive in a pre-game test that was taken Sunday but read on Monday.
It’s not clear if either the Steelers’ staff case or the player case are related to that potential exposure or to one another.
When the NFL completes its contact tracing, any players that are considered high risk close contacts of the positive player will have to be quarantined from the team for five days and will not be able to practice this week as the team prepares to face the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens had six such players that needed quarantined after Humphrey’s positive test.
The Steelers have not had a player on the COVID-19 list since training camp.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Delivers Meals to Seniors on Thanksgiving
With his team suddenly off, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster spent his Thanksgiving morning giving back to the Pittsburgh community.
Smith-Schuster — along with his dog, Boujee — helped deliver meals to less fortunate seniors in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
“It’s always been a passion in my heart,” Smith-Schuster said. “I think it’s huge when people give back.”
Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster delivers meals to seniors on Thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/bEClYxPvrO
— JoAnne Harrop (@joannescoop) November 26, 2020
The Steelers aren’t playing on Thursday because their scheduled game with the Baltimore Ravens was pushed back to Sunday due to a COVID-19 outbreak with the Ravens.
After the team practiced Tuesday and Wednesday in anticipation of a Thursday kickoff, head coach Mike Tomlin gave the team the day off on Thursday.
Steelers President Art Rooney II Extends Thanks, Appreciation to Fans
On the heels of such an unpleasant day for many Steelers fans, and even a day that left several players filled with bitterness and animosity because their game was postponed, Steelers president Art Rooney II issued a statement on Thanksgiving morning.
In the spirit of giving thanks and moving on, Rooney expressed his disappointment about the current situation and his appreciation for the support of all of Steelers Nation.
“Though we are disappointed that we will not get to play for our fans on Thanksgiving night this year, we look forward to many more exciting times during the 2020 season,” Rooney said. “Today gives us all a time to reflect and appreciate what we can be thankful for on this holiday. And I want to add a special note of thanks to all our frontline workers for all your tireless efforts in these difficult times.”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 26, 2020
Barring no more issues, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are now scheduled to kickoff at 1:15 pm EST. Just as the game would’ve been Thursday night, it will be broadcast on NBC.
Steelers Tops Among All Teams in Pro Bowl Votes; T.J. Watt Leads OLBs
The Pittsburgh Steelers lead all NFL clubs in votes cast for the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl, the league announced on Wednesday, with outside linebacker T.J. Watt the top vote-getter at his position.
The Steelers led all teams in votes, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills, and did so despite not having any players in the top five overall vote-getters and just two players leading at their position.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has the most votes of any individual player, with 143,355 votes, followed by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
For the Steelers, Watt leads all vote-getters at outside linebacker with 69,924 votes. Watt is a two-time Pro Bowler and is coming off a first-team All-Pro season in 2019. He’s currently tied for third in the NFL with nine sacks, one-half behind leaders Trey Hendrickson of New Orleans and Myles Garrett of Cleveland. Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears paced the NFC’s outside linebackers with 47,689 votes.
The Steelers’ other top vote-getter comes at an unusual position. Long snapper Kameron Canaday leads all AFC long snappers with 48,869 votes. Canaday, in his fifth NFL season and fourth with the Steelers, has never made the Pro Bowl.
While the teams will still be selected, the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will not be played. Instead the Pro Bowl events will be led virtually and the game will be streamed via Madden NFL 21. The game had been scheduled to be played at Allegiant Stadium in las Vegas on Jan. 31. Voting will continue through Dec. 17.