Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner tests positive for COVID-19

Conner and special teams coordinator Danny Smith have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the virus.

Moments after ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that additional Steelers have tested positive for COVID-19, specific names were reported.

NFL Network’s Aditi Kinwahbala first reported Steelers running back James Conner tested positive. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed the second person is special teams coach Danny Smith.

The news comes the day after Pittsburgh placed defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt, defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Since Tuitt, Buggs and Hawkins were never reported as positive, it’s presumed they tested negative and were merely in close contact.

With the Steelers-Ravens game still three days out, if this is the end of the positive cases, the game should be on as scheduled on Tuesday. However, contact tracing is a lengthy process, and the result will inevitably mean players in close contact with Conner and Smith are placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

When tight end Vance McDonald tested positive, contact tracing landed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Jaylen Samuels, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins and linebacker Vince Williams on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

If anything is working in Pittsburgh’s favor that the virus hasn’t spread, it’s that the team hasn’t practiced since Nov. 25.

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Latest on Vance McDonald, Kevin Dotson and reserve/COVID-19 list

There has been no official update to the contrary on McDonald or Dotson in recent days. 

As of Friday, Steelers tight end Vance McDonald and Kevin Dotson remain on the reserve/COVID-19 list where they were both placed earlier this month. Since Thursday, Nov. 5, McDonald has not practiced and returned a positive test the day following the Dallas Cowboy’s game on Nov. 9. Though it was never made clear whether Dotson tested positive, the guard has not practiced since Thursday, Nov. 12.

Following a positive test, the current COVID protocol states that a player can return after at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours after he last experienced symptoms.

Though it’s estimated McDonald could’ve returned to practice on or around Nov. 17, Dotson still has three days according to the guidelines.

There has been no official update on the status of either player in recent days. The two are not listed among the activations from reserve/COVID-19 on Friday’s NFL transaction wire.

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