Steelers, Rams Players Detail ‘Scary’ Experiences With COVID-19

Andrew-Whitworth-vs-Steelers

Andy Lyons/Getty Images Andrew Whitworth, now with the Los Angeles Rams, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers while he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Two NFL players recently related their first-hand experience with COVID-19, and both used the word ‘scary’ to describe their encounters.

In an interview with Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, offensive lineman Jarron Jones, a first-year player out of Notre Dame, described his father Matthew’s months-long battle with COVID-19, which came very close to taking his father’s life.

“He and my mom are both nurses,” said Jones. “He works at a clinic and he was dealing with someone who had symptoms, so I guess that is how he got it.”

For the first week, Jarron’s mother Lakiescha was doing the caregiving. But then his condition deteriorated dramatically.

“Once it started getting worse and worse they had to take him to the hospital,” added Jones. “It was very scary, especially when he got to the hospital. He had to be put on a ventilator when he was first admitted. You look up the percentage of how many people get on the ventilator, how many make it….”


Matthew Jones Hospitalized for 47 Days

In the end, Matthew Jones was hospitalized for more than a month-and-a-half, released a day before the 2020 NFL Draft. Three months later he is still working to return to full health.

“He is still on the road to recovery,” said Jones, who saw his father recently. “It was awesome. I didn’t see him for as long as I wanted to. But the fact that I got to see him at all was special…. I was thinking that the last time I saw my dad was going to be the last time I saw my dad. That bothered me a lot.”

It was in the midst of his father’s battle with COVID-19 that Jones received a call from the Steelers, who signed him to their 90-man roster after taking note of his performances for the New York Guardians in the XFL.

Now Jones is hoping to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster—just like his brother Jamir Jones is hoping to make it onto the 53-man roster of the Houston Texans, having been signed as an undrafted rookie free agent.

If they make their respective teams, they will join the Watt brothers—T.J., Derek and J.J.—when the Steelers play the Texans at Heinz Field on Sept. 27.

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Rams’ Andrew Whitworth Reveals Positive COVID-19 Test

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth revealed on an NFLPA video conference with reporters that he and his whole family tested positive for COVID-19 this summer.

“It was definitely a scary thing and realize how contagious this is,” Whitworth said, via Dave Burkett, Lions beat writer for the Detroit Free Press.

Whitworth said all it took was for one family member to go out to lunch with a friend to contract the virus. Soon afterwards, Whitworth and his wife, their kids, and his in-laws all tested positive—and his father-in-law had to be hospitalized.

“It doesn’t take much, and it can spread like wildfire,” Whitworth added.

Whitworth is the second Rams player who has tested positive for COVID-19, following center Brian Allen, who became the first NFL player known to have tested positive back in April.

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Follow Jason Zasky on Twitter: @ZaskyNFL


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