The Pittsburgh Steelers are still alive in the AFC playoff race, but if they’re to make the postseason, they may have to do so without the services of their No. 1 wide receiver and starting center.
The Steelers announced on Thursday that they’ve placed Diontae Johnson and Kendrick Green on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The team did not announce whether Johnson and/or Green were placed on the list due to a positive test or as close contacts, but either way, it appears extremely unlikely that either will be able to play in the team’s Week 18 game against the division rival Baltimore Ravens.
In Johnson’s absence, Chase Claypool, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud will presumably see most of the work at wide receiver. Johnson is clearly Ben Roethlisberger’s No. 1 read on a near every-snap basis, though, so not having him in the lineup will have a dramatic effect on how the offense operates.
Green, the team’s third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has played in and started 15 of 16 games this season. He sat out the Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns with a calf injury, and was replaced by J.C. Hassenauer in the lineup. Hassenauer would presumably start in Green’s place once again in the regular-season finale.