On Monday, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald tested positive for COVID-19. Now, on Tuesday, the organization has placed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on their reserve/COVID-19 list, as well.
The 2-time Super Bowl champion has not tested positive for COVID-19. However, Pittsburgh decided Roethlisberger and three other teammates are “high-risk, close contact” persons after recently being near McDonald.
QB Roethlisberger, OL Jerald Hawkins, RB Jaylen Samuels, and LB Vince Williams will now isolate for five days. Additionally, the players cannot return to the UPMC Rooney practice facility during that time. But, they are allowed to join in on team meetings virtually.
Despite being placed on the COVID-19 team list, the players could still play in Sunday’s game. The Steelers will face the Cincinnati Bengals as the only undefeated team left in the NFL this season. If the players test results are negative throughout the week, they at least have a chance to play on Sunday.
In contrast, McDonald’s situation is very different since he tested positive. The tight end may miss multiple games, according to further COVID-19 test results. If McDonald is experiencing any symptoms, he must isolate for a minimum of 10 days.
Furthermore, McDonald has to go 72 hours with zero symptoms before he could return to the team and their facilities. Therefore, he will at least miss Sunday’s game against the Bengals and could miss next Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Roethlisberger Has Advocated for COVID-19 Precautions
The Steelers quarterback is good friends with McDonald and the two players even share lockers near each other. Cameras during previous games have caught Roethlisberger speaking to McDonald on the sideline without a face mask. The QB has supposedly “been diligent” taking precautions because of COVID-19.
Yet, one of the NFL’s deciding factors for high-risk designation is whether a player wore a mask while in close contact with someone with positive test results. This is likely why Roethlisberger landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
Pittsburgh remains under an intensive COVID-19 protocol after their Nov. 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens. Following that matchup, the Ravens DB Marlon Humphrey received positive test results. As a precaution, the NFL placed both teams under the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
During the 2020 NFL season, Roethlisberger has been a vocal supporter of taking every precaution possible to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to be cautious, be careful, and protect each other,” Roethlisberger explained 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.”