On Saturday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have placed three players—including two starters—on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The three players in question are: cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Eric Ebron, and outside linebacker Cassius Marsh, the latter of whom was signed off the practice squad of the Indianapolis Colts on December 9th.
None will be available to go against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and because Haden has reportedly tested positive for the virus, he won’t be able to play in next week’s postseason game.
The other two players are said to be “close contacts” of Joe Haden, so they could return for next week’s game if they don’t test positive before then.
The close contact may have come as a result of the families of several Steelers players gathering together at Joe Haden’s home.
As noted by Brooke Pryor of ESPN, over this past weekend Ebron posted photos on Instagram showing his family and the family of Cassius Marsh at Haden’s house. Those photos appear to have since been removed from Ebron’s Instagram.
Steelers Elevate 4 Replacement Players
In the wake of the above situation—and the decision to rest four starters for Sunday’s game—the Steelers also elevated offensive tackle Anthony Coyle and wide receiver Deon Cain to the active/inactive roster from the practice squad, and elevated tight end Kevin Rader and placekicker Matthew Wright to the active/inactive roster from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements.
It’s the third game for which Coyle has been elevated this season, and the second for Cain, who was also activated for the Week 6 game against Cleveland.
As for Wright, he has already appeared in two games this year, subbing in for an injured Chris Boswell. He has converted his only field goal attempt (37 yards) and has also converted six of six extra-point tries.
It will be the first NFL game for Kevin Rader, a Pittsburgh area native who graduated from Pine-Richland High School and went to college at Youngstown State in Ohio, where he authored a remarkable, game-winning catch in the 2016 FCS Championship Semifinal between Youngstown State and Eastern Washington.
Rader has spent most of the past two seasons on Pittsburgh’s practice squad. He was signed to the active roster on November 24th and subsequently released on December 21st. Then the Steelers re-signed him to the practice squad on December 23rd.
6 Steelers Players Did Not Make the Trip to Cleveland
On Saturday, the Steelers announced that six of the team’s starters did not travel with the team to Cleveland.
Those players are: quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, outside linebacker T.J. Watt and center Maurkice Pouncey, plus the aforementioned Boswell and safety Terrell Edmunds. Boswell and Edmunds are out with injuries, a groin and shoulder, respectively.
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