The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t experienced a full-blown COVID-19 outbreak—like, say, the Tennessee Titans or Baltimore Ravens—but the players who have tested positive and/or spent time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list are among the team’s most vital contributors.
The latest Steeler to be placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list is inside linebacker Vince Williams, who was added on Thursday. Williams plays a position that has been decimated by injury, with Devin Bush out for the season with a torn ACL and his backup, Robert Spillane, now “expected to miss time” (per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN) with a knee injury suffered on Monday versus Washington.
Notably, it’s the second time that Williams has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list in the past month. On November 10th he was added—along with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins and running back Jaylen Samuels—for being a “close contact” of tight end Vance McDonald, who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after the game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Williams joins center Maurkice Pouncey as the only two Steelers players currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The veteran center has missed the past two games (versus Baltimore and Washington) after being added to the list on December 2nd.
Who do the Steelers Have Left at Inside Linebacker?
Assuming the Steelers don’t have the services of either Spillane or Williams on Sunday at Buffalo, the team will be down to Avery Williamson (fortuitously acquired in a mid-season trade with the New York Jets) and converted safety Marcus Allen.
Beyond that the Steelers only have two recently-signed practice squad players, one of whom, Christian Kuntz, was inked (on November 24th) primarily to serve as an emergency long snapper, in case the team loses the services of Kameron Canaday.
The other inside linebacker on the practice squad is Tegray Scales, who signed with the Steelers on November 11th after he spent several weeks on the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October. Scales was added to the practice squad after Vince Williams went on the COVID-19 list the first time. He’s a former All-American at the University of Indiana, who aspires to start a mixed martial arts career after his NFL career comes to an end.
At Indiana Scales played in 48 games with 26 starts, where he was credited with 325 total tackles (218 solo), 18 sacks, 46 tackles for loss, eight interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Buffalo Bills Tight End Tommy Sweeney
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills currently have just one player on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but he was deemed out for the season on November 23rd after he was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can develop from a COVID-19 infection.
The Bills also have a half-dozen players on injured reserve, including seventh-year wide receiver John Brown and second-year offensive lineman Cody Ford.
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