These are supposed to be the good times for veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With a healthy Roethlisberger under center, the Steelers are a perfect 8-0 entering Week 10. But things are about to get much more challenging for the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team placed several players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are 8-0
If you predicted the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers would be the last perfect team standing, come and collect your prize.
Playing in one of the NFL’s most competitive divisions, Pittsburgh nonetheless won its first eight games. While not the Steel Curtain of years past, the Steelers’ stingy defense has played at a strong level.
The presence of Ben Roethlisberger has been invaluable, too. Roethlisberger has completed 68.1% of his passes for 1,934 yards, 18 touchdowns, and four interceptions this year.
Big Ben is on pace to throw his fewest interceptions since 2014, when he only had nine balls picked off.
Roethlisberger missed most of last season with an elbow injury. The Steelers’ starting quarterback since 2004, Roethlisberger is making $26 million in total cash this season, according to Spotrac.
Big Ben and several teammates went on the COVID-19 list
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers received troubling news entering Week 10.
Pittsburgh placed Roethlisberger and three teammates on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Roethlisberger tested negative but is on the list because of close contacts.
The other players now on the list include:
- Jaylen Samuels, a third-year running back who now primarily plays special teams. Samuels has eight yards on three carries this season. He also caught two passes for five yards.
- Jerald Hawkins, a reserve offensive lineman who has played in six games this year.
- Vince Williams, the Steelers’ veteran linebacker. Williams, 31, is enjoying a career year. Williams has a career-high 14 tackles for a loss and three sacks. With a strong finish, Williams could pass the eight sacks he had in 2017.
It was not known at publication which of the three, if any, tested positive for COVID-19. The Steelers tweeted Monday that one player tested positive and had been quarantined.
Steelers fans shouldn’t panic about Ben Roethlisberger just yet
Pittsburgh Steelers fans should remain calm and not pivot to panicking just yet.
Roethlisberger tested negative for COVID-19 and, if all goes well, is eligible to play on Sunday against Joe Burrow and the Bengals. He needs to pass all of his remaining COVID-19 tests this week.
With all due respect to Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh needs Roethlisberger on the field if the Steelers hope to remain perfect. The unexpected time away from practice could actually work in Roethlisberger’s favor after he suffered injuries to both knees in Week 9.
Roethlisberger isn’t the only starting quarterback in the AFC North currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield suffered the same fate last weekend.
Mayfield and the Browns were off last week. Cleveland hosts Deshaun Watson and the Texans in Week 10.
All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.