On Saturday a report emerged that Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden had a COVID-19 ‘situation,’ and that he would not play against Cleveland in the season-finale. Shortly afterwards came news that Haden tested positive for the virus, so he will almost assuredly miss Pittsburgh’s first postseason game (this coming Sunday night against the Browns).
Penn State Alum Trevor Williams
With that in mind, on Monday the Steelers worked out former Chargers and Eagles cornerback Trevor Williams, 27, who came into the NFL in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State.
Williams’ best season came in 2017 when he started 15 games for the Los Angeles Chargers, responsible for 56 tackles (48 solo), as well as two interceptions and 13 passes defensed. But a knee injury limited him to nine games in 2018, and then a quad injury incurred in the summer of 2019 forced him onto injured reserve at the beginning of the season.
The Chargers placed him on waivers a month later, at which point he was picked up by the Cardinals. But he appeared in just two games for Arizona before getting released, and has spent most of the time since with the Eagles, for whom he also appeared in two games before a rib injury landed him on injured reserve.
Last month, Williams (5-foot-11 and 191 pounds) spent a week on the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In his career he has played 41 games (27 starts), with 113 total tackles (95 solo), plus four tackles for loss, three interceptions, 23 passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
Joe Haden’s ‘Situation’
Meanwhile, the Steelers better hope that Joe Haden misses no more than one postseason game. While fourth-year cornerback Cameron Sutton is a capable replacement for Haden, the Steelers will need all hands on-deck against more formidable playoff opponents—assuming they get past Cleveland.
The last few months have been a challenging time for Haden. In late November his black Rolls-Royce suffered significant damage when he was involved in a car accident.
After that he suffered a concussion during the team’s loss to Washington, which forced him to miss the following game (at Buffalo), which the Steelers also lost.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that the Steelers are 12-1 in the games in which Haden has played in full, as compared to 0-3 when Haden has missed all or part of the game.
Steelers Set Another Sack Record
By amassing four sacks against the Browns in the season finale, the Steelers finished the year with a league-leading 56 sacks, the only team in the NFL with 50 or more except the Los Angeles Rams (53).
As such, the Steelers are the first team in NFL history to lead the league in sacks for four consecutive seasons, a streak that began in 2017 when the team set a new franchise-high with 56 sacks. In 2018 the Steelers had 52 sacks, then another 54 in 2019.
In 2021, the Steelers will attempt to tie the NFL record for most consecutive seasons of 50 or more sacks (five), something no team has accomplished since the 1980s, when the record was set by Washington, Buffalo and Dallas between 1983-87.
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