Report: Minkah Fitzpatrick Tests Positive for COVID-19
According to a report first made by ESPN, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has tested positive for COVID-19, leaving his status for next week's game at the Los Angeles Chargers in doubt.
Fitzpatrick's vaccination status isn't known, though the Steelers roster has one of the highest reported vaccination rates in the NFL. He was scheduled to meet with the media Monday, but his appearance was canceled in light of his status.
The Steelers haven't faced much adversity with COVID-19 during the 2021 season. That was until Saturday night when news broke that Pittsburgh would play the Detroit Lions without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers and Lions played to a 16-16 tie Sunday.
Roethlisberger's game status is still in question this early in the week, though he is vaccinated and has a faster path back to the field than he would otherwise. For now, Fitzpatrick joins his quarterback on the COVID/Reserve List to begin the week.
Fitzpatrick nearly hauled in a diving interception late against the Lions before coming away with an interception in the fourth quarter that would have been his first of the season had a Devin Bush holding call not wiped the play away.
Fitzpatrick's play has not been up to the standard of his first two seasons in Pittsburgh, at least statistically. Through nine games, Fitzpatrick has 64 total tackles, one for a loss. He's on pace to have a career year in total tackles, but heading into the game, Fitzpatrick has a 13.2% missed tackle rate on the season according to Steelers Depot. That number definitely spiked after the Lions game.
In pass coverage his numbers have really soured. The 30 targets he's faced in 2021 are the most he's faced in a single season in a Steelers uniform. The 22 receptions he's allowed is the most he's allowed since his rookie season. The 73% is 21 ticks higher than his two previous seasons in black and gold.
On the bright side, Fitzpatrick is allowing just 9.5 yards per completion, which is a career-best.
On a slightly related note, JC Hassenauer, the former Crimson Tide offensive lineman, is expected to start the next few games for the Steelers at left guard as Kevin Dotson deals with a high ankle sprain.
He, Isaiah Buggs, Najee Harris and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers will travel to SoFi Stadium next Sunday night to take on the Los Angeles Chargers, which are one of four NFL teams that don't feature a former Alabama player.