On Saturday morning former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ryan Switzer sent an alarming tweet concerning the health of his infant son, Christian. In it, he revealed that his nine-month-old “woke up in his blood” and has tested positive for COVID-19.
There has already been an outpouring of support from the NFL community, especially from fans and media in Pittsburgh, Dallas and Cleveland, the three NFL teams with whom the fifth-year player has spent most of his NFL career.
Ryan Switzer’s NFL Journey
Switzer entered the NFL in 2017 as a fourth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys. He played just one season in Dallas, catching six passes for 41 yards as a rookie. In April 2018 the University of North Carolina product was traded to the Raiders for defensive lineman Jihad Ward, but Switzer never played for the Raiders, who traded him and a sixth-round draft pick to the Steelers in exchange for a 2019 fifth-rounder.
As such, he is best-known as a member of the Steelers. During his two years in Pittsburgh, Switzer caught 44 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown. He also returned 39 kickoffs for 773 yards (19.8 yard average), as well as 38 punts for 281 yards (7.4 yard average).
But despite earning rave reviews in training camp in 2020, the Steelers released him in favor of receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, who demonstrated superior kick return skills.
Weeks later Switzer landed a tryout with the Cleveland Browns, who signed him to their practice squad on October 1, where he remained for the rest of the season. In January he signed a one-year contract with the Browns, who will give him another chance at continuing his NFL career.
Several Members of the Steelers’ Extended Family Have Passed Away Due to COVID-19
Meanwhile, Switzer is the latest member of the Steelers family to be impacted by COVID-19.
In September of last year, the son of former Steelers first-round pick Jamain Stephens passed away at the age of 20. Several weeks later, his family revealed that Jamain ‘Juice’ Stephens Jr. “ … died of a blood clot to the heart after testing positive for COVID-19.”
Then in January former Steelers fullback Tim Lester died at the age of 52. The local newspaper in his hometown subsequently reported that he passed away due to complications related to COVID-19.
And last summer, Steelers offensive lineman Jarron Jones told Steelers.com that his father, Matthew, spent 47 days in the hospital with COVID-19 and narrowly escaped with his life.
Two weeks ago, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin tested positive for COVID-19, though he reportedly has suffered minimal effects. Several current and former NFL players have reported struggling with the symptoms of the virus, including Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams.
More notably, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead was hospitalized twice with the virus and missed the entire 2020 season due to ongoing complications (including respiratory issues). Armstead is expected to return for the 2021 campaign.
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