Former Steelers Head Coach Talks Getting COVID-19

Bill-Cowher-Veronica-Stigeler

Getty Bill Cowher with his wife Veronica Stigeler in Sun Valley, Idaho in 2018.

Add former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher to the list of celebrities and public figures that have contracted COVID-19.

Cowher told Ed Bouchette of TheAthletic.com that he started to worry when he couldn’t smell the flowers—literally.

Cowher had purchased lilies to enhance the atmosphere in the New York condominium he shares with his wife, Veronica Stigeler, who is a singer-songwriter.

As he related to Bouchette: “I said, ‘What a bad bunch of lilies. I’m never going back to that florist again.’ And my wife made this stir fry, and I said, ‘Did you forget to put the ginger in there?’ She said, ‘I put a bunch of ginger in there.’ I said, ‘I can’t taste it.’”

Veronica went on to develop symptoms too, including a dry cough, while Cowher muddled through with a fever, among other issues.

This was back in mid-March, after a trip to Honolulu that included a flight back to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The couple also ventured out to dinner at several restaurants in Manhattan before New York City went into shutdown mode. And though they didn’t get tested at the time they were ill, Cowher says both he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies a month later.


Cowher ‘Relieved’ About Delayed Hall of Fame Induction

In the time since, Cowher also got the news that his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame would be delayed by a year, an annoucement that also affects former Steelers safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell, both of whom were also scheduled to be inducted this summer.

Cowher was expecting to go into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 8, 2020, but the new date is Aug. 7, 2021, a day after the postponed Hall of Fame game between the Steelers and Dallas Cowboys is scheduled to take place.

“I’m really kind of relieved,” Cowher said to Bouchette. “As much as you want to be reflective and talk about the people who were so instrumental in your life, now is not the time, not just with COVID, but with the social justice issues….The Hall of Fame needs to be reflective. I’m glad it’s still going to be Dallas and Pittsburgh playing, which is great. I think right now it’s just hard to really think about anything celebratory when the country is in the state it is.”

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Cowher on Whether NFL Games Will Be Played in 2020

Meanwhile, Cowher plans to continue his work as a studio analyst for The NFL Today on CBS. He is entering his 14th season with the show.

Asked whether he believes there will be NFL games this fall he said: “I don’t know,” before reflecting on one of the greatest challenges facing the players and coaches. “It’s not like you can isolate yourself from everybody, particularly during a season that’s five months long.”

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