Last Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers closed the team’s facility in the wake of “several positive COVID-19 tests,” this according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Today Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting that Tomlin, 48, remains away from the facility as he has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“A team spokesman would not confirm the specific case, but did say members of the coaching & personnel staffs were sent home last week after a couple positives came up,” added Rapoport.
COVID-19’s Impact on the Steelers Family
During the 2020 season, the Steelers experienced comparatively little disruption (as compared to most other NFL teams) in terms of controlling the virus internally, but were significantly disadvantaged by outbreaks on other clubs.
For one, Pittsburgh lost its originally scheduled bye week after its September game at Tennessee had to be rescheduled due to an outbreak on the Titans. Pittsburgh also had its Thanksgiving Night home game against the Baltimore Ravens moved to the middle of the afternoon on the following Wednesday, with the awkward start time attributed to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting festivities.
As for individual players, veteran cornerback Joe Haden reportedly tested positive for the virus in early January and missed the team’s regular-season finale, as well as the club’s post-season game. In December inside linebacker Vince Williams spent time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and sent tweets indicating that the virus was hitting him hard. Running back James Conner—a cancer survivor—reportedly tested positive in November, as did tight end Vance McDonald.
At one point, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Jaylen Samuels and Vince Williams were all on the Reserve/COVID-19 list by virtue of being close contacts of McDonald. Similarly, linemen Stephon Tuitt, Isaiah Buggs and Jerald Hawkins all spent time on the list. Assistant coaches Matt Canada and Danny Smith also missed action as a result of COVID-19 protocols.
COVID-19’s Impact on Pittsburgh’s Extended Family
Sadly, the son of former Steelers first-round pick Jamain Stephens passed away in September at the age of 20. His family later revealed that his death was caused by complications related to COVID-19.
There have also been indications that former Steelers fullback Tim Lester died as a result of contracting COVID-19. Lester passed away unexpectedly in January at the age of 52.
Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has also said that he and is wife contracted COVID-19 last March.
Finally, practice squad offensive lineman Jarrod Jones has talked about his father narrowly escaped with his life after spending 47 days in the hospital battling the virus.
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