Tim Benz: The Kovid-19 transition may not be the fault of the Titans, but it is also not a problem for the Steelers


Until we find evidence to the contrary, Steelers fans should not blame the Tennessee Titans for being the first NFL team to become a Kovid-19 hotspot. Even if that news is postponed or forfeited between clubs due to Sunday’s game.

At least three players and five others within the Titans team have tested positive for the virus. So the status of the Steelers’ trip to Nashville for Matchup Sunday is under question.

I think details may emerge that some members of the Titans acted like Miami Marlins and moved out of town. Maybe someone from the team went to a strip club for their favorite chicken wings, such as NBA player Lou Williams. Or someone brought a woman back to the team hotel, disguised in team gear such as Seattle Seahawks crook Kemah Siewrand, allegedly back in August.

Or – and stay with me here – it’s a virus. And germs spread. And people get sick, try to avoid the disease.

If they are not in the bubble like NBA and NHL players, they are not 100% safe from infection in the outside world.

Tennessee linebackers coach Shane Bowen has now become the NFL’s Rudy Gobert. He is a patient zero of the league. He is the one who was retained in the Kovid-19 protocol, before the team left Nashville to play Minnesota on Saturday.

That doesn’t mean he was rubbing his hands on other people’s things, though, as Gobert did in that infamous video back in March.

Tennessee is considered a “quarantine state” by the office of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Bowen could have contracted the virus at home, at the grocery store or gas station we all know. Maybe he could have got it from one of the other titans deemed positive, and he got caught in the first test itself.

ESPN reports that none of the people who tested positive with the team are symptomatic. Therefore, with nothing under their belt but previous daily negative tests, how did they know?

Exposure to the virus does not necessarily result in bad behavior from the Titans. This may just be bad luck.

Do not call it the fault of the Titans. However, this is the problem of Titans. And this is the NFL’s problem. This should not be the problem of Steelers.

That’s why all the suggestions have been thrown around for the last 24 hours about how to handle this situation, which are overlapping things.

The most obvious way to handle this situation is to have the Titans play a game against the Steelers on Sunday – or Monday night – whoever is healthy to play and whoever tests negative. If star Derrick Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill are coming back, that’s not fair.

If the game is played and the Titans don’t have to practice until Saturday, too bad.

If they do not have enough players to play, they refuse. Excuse me. Corona – Life is hard.

The Steelers should not have absorbed a bye week in Week 3 as the Titans became ill. The Steelers should not play 13 straight weeks without playing, possibly going to the playoffs, as the Titans have fallen ill. The Steelers should not play three straight road games because the Titans became ill.

If all that happens then as some have suggested – the Steelers will kick off this weekend and move their Week 7 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens to Week 8. This is possible because the Revons also have a buy during Week 8. So, in theory, this week’s game could be bumped up to Week 7 (when Tennessee Bye is currently scheduled), and the Steelers and the Ravens could advance their competition for their mutual sub-week.

But, clearly, during a minimal concession, the Ravens should not have to move their schedule because the Titans got ill either.

The problem is that if the NFL jumps through all these hoops to accommodate the rescheduling of the Steelers-Titans game, what if a game comes up when the rescheduled options aren’t so easy?

One caveat is that the Steelers prefer to make concessions that oppose getting in close contact with a team full of players who were exposed to the virus. It may be that the Steelers would prefer those annoyances in scheduling because they are very contrary to the Kovid risk.

But Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says he has not been asked for any input on the matter.

“Those discussions are going on,” Tomlin said. “This is their allegation. Our mindset is that we are going to move forward as if scheduled regularly until we receive further information. So I haven’t gotten into a bunch of that.

I kick in with all of these possible outcomes with Triboy’s Steelers, who beat writer Joe Rutter during our weekly podcast after Tomlin’s press conference. We also come to the X and O of the Steelers-Titans. Where the Steelers are among the AFC elite. It is likely to go 4–0 for the first time since 1979. And on Monday night the heads of Cannes City were told about the loss from Raven.

Listen: Tim Benz and Joe Rutter discuss the status of the Steelers’ game against the Titans as the team tackles a Kovid-19 outbreak

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.

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Game | Steelers / NFL | Breakfast with Benz

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