The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and three others on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after being deemed “high-risk” close contacts with TE Vance McDonald, who returned a positive test for the virus on Monday.
As “high risk” contacts, Roethlisberger, OL Jerald Hawkins, RB Jaylen Samuels, and LB Vince Williams must isolate for five days after their last contact with McDonald, and they cannot return to the UPMC Rooney practice facility for at least those five days. They may participate in team meetings virtually.
All four will be tested throughout the week before possibly being eligible to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
NFL’s Dr. Allen Sills previously said the deciding factor for “high-risk” designation is often determined by whether the person had close contact while not wearing a mask.
McDonald was placed on the COVID-19 list Monday night after his positive test and must isolate for at least 10 days.
Despite missing Friday’s practice with an “illness” designation, McDonald traveled with the team on a plane to Dallas on Saturday.
The team remains in the intensive COVID-19 protocol dating to last week after Baltimore Ravens DB Marlon Humphrey tested positive following the Steelers-Ravens game.
The Steelers can look to the Ravens’ timeline with Humphrey’s positive test last Monday for an idea of how this week could go.
Humphrey was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday to begin his 10-day quarantine. The next day, the Ravens placed seven players identified as “high risk” contacts of Humphrey on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Matthew Judon was removed from the list Thursday, while the other six were activated Saturday. Six of the players played in Sunday’s win against the Indianapolis Colts. Now, only Humphrey remains on the Reserve-COVID-19 list.
Throughout the season, Roethlisberger has been a vocal advocate of taking precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to be cautious, be careful and protect each other,” Roethlisberger said in October. “Fans are allowed in the stadium, which means we’re allowed to have guests in town and things like that. In the Roethlisberger family, we’re not changing anything. No guests are coming in town. But there are a few challenges that have been presented and so hopefully guys can continue to be as cautious and as careful as we have been to this point.”