The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Tuesday morning that they have placed four players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That list of players is headlined by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is joined by offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, running back Jaylen Samuels and linebacker Vince Williams. Each one of these players will be isolated for five days, according to the team, and will not be permitted into the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. That said, they are permitted to take part in virtual meetings throughout the week.
Of course, landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list does not necessarily mean that a player has tested positive for the virus as they can also be placed there if they are deemed to be a close contact to someone who was infected. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, that is the case here with these Steelers players as they were all deemed to have "high risk" contact with tight end Vance McDonald, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday after testing positive. If these players, including Roethlisberger, are able to pass COVID-19 tests throughout the week, they will be able to play on Sunday when they face the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Detroit Lions faced a similar situation last week when starting quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after he was considered a "high risk" close contact to a non-team member. After quarantining and testing negative, Stafford was activated for the Lions' Week 9 matchup with the Vikings. As long as Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers players now on the COVID-list don't turn in a positive test, there is an avenue for them to play in Week 10.
For Roethlisberger specifically, this is just another hurdle the quarterback is set to face this week. In the Week 9 win over Dallas, Roethlisberger slowly limped to the locker room in the first half and was briefly relieved by Mason Rudolph before re-entering the game in the third quarter. The 38-year-old reportedly injured both of his knees on Sunday, but there is optimism that those injuries will not keep him sidelined.
This season, Roethlisberger has bounced back quite nicely after missing the bulk of 2019 due to an elbow injury that required surgery. Through eight games, he has completed 68.1% of his throws for 1,934 yards, 18 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.