Contact came Sunday and quarantines run Monday through Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation. Players would be eligible to be back at the Steelers facility on Saturday if they test negative and don’t develop symptoms.
“These are issues that everyone in the league has to deal with,” said Steeler’s coach Mike Tomlin during a video press conference Tuesday. “From that point of view, it’s fair and the pitch is fair. We are working to adhere to the protocol. … We have great confidence in the protocol. “
Tomlin said he had “very little concern” about the prospect of Roethlisberger being able to play Sunday without practicing until Friday based on Roethlisberger’s experience. Players will attend team meetings remotely throughout the week, Tomlin said.
The Steelers announced that they are also putting offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, who led back Jaylen Samuels and linebacker Vince Williams, on the Covid-19 reserve list. The list is for players who tested positive for the coronavirus and players who were found to have been exposed to the virus through contact tracing.
McDonald was added to the list on Monday after the Steelers said earlier in the day that a player had tested positive. McDonald played in the Steelers’ win over the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Tex on Sunday.
Roethlisberger temporarily left the game on Sunday after holding on to his left knee after a hit from two Cowboys defenders. Just before half-time he hobbled into the Steelers’ locker room and was replaced by backup Mason Rudolph. Roethlisberger returned in the second half. The Steelers are the only undefeated team in the NFL and made their first 8-0 start in franchise history.
Even star quarterbacks have recently been subjected to the NFL’s five-day quarantine protocol for close, high-risk contacts. Matthew Stafford played for the Detroit Lions Sunday after being in quarantine last week. Baker Mayfield’s five-day quarantine could expire on Wednesday after he was put on the Covid-19 reserve list during bye week with the Cleveland Browns.
The NFL has used the revised approach of mandatory five-day high-risk close-contact quarantines to have four consecutive weeks with little or no interruption to their schedule, while creating additional roster management and competition issues for teams.