The Pittsburgh Steelers will be even more short-handed than expected in Week 17.
The team announced Saturday that cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Eric Ebron and linebacker Cassius Marsh have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, a day before they are scheduled to face the Cleveland Browns. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor reported that Ebron had previously posted video of his and Marsh’s family spending time at Haden’s house.
Placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list signifies that a player has either tested positive for COVID-19 or been identified as a close contact of an infected person.
Steelers will be missing several starters vs. Browns
The Steelers already figured to be well below 100 percent against Cleveland, having ruled out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey, defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and linebacker T.J. Watt with non-injury designations.
Starting safety Terrelly Edmunds and Chris Boswell have also been ruled out with injuries.
Week 17’s game means little for the Steelers, whose only remaining unknown for the playoffs is whether they will be the second or third seed in the AFC. A win over the Browns and a loss by the Buffalo Bills would give the Steelers the second seed behind the 14-1 Kansas City Chiefs, anything else would mean the third seed.
Meanwhile, the Browns face a win-and-in scenario, as they would likely need an Indianapolis Colts loss to make the playoffs should they fall to the short-handed Steelers.
The Steelers might be playing for more than playoff position, however, as ruling out Roethlisberger means Mason Rudolph will start under center against the team whose star Myles Garrett infamously conked him with his own helmet then accused him of using a racial slur. Both men have indicated they want to put the incident in the past, but you’d have to imagine a win to potentially eliminate the Browns would be quite sweet for Pittsburgh.
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