(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Steelers placed center Maurkice Pouncey on the reserve/COVID-19 list before today's game against the Baltimore Ravens. Schefter didn't say whether Pouncey tested positive or was a close contact with someone who has the virus.
Pouncey, along with defensive end Stephon Tuitt, running back James Conner and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins are on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will not play this afternoon against the Ravens.
With the Steelers placing Pouncey on the reserve/COVID-19 list, running back Wendell Smallwood and offensive lineman Anthony Coyle were elevated from the practice squad to the Active/Inactive roster as COVID-19 replacements. This will be the first game that Pouncey has missed this season.
Smallwood will be the Steelers' No. 3 running back against the Ravens, as Conner won't be available with testing positive for COVID-19 and Jaylen Samuels has been ruled out with a quadriceps injury. Benny Snell Jr. will be the feature runner and Anthony McFarland will be the No. 2 running back.
It's expected that J.C. Hassenauer will start at center in Pouncey's place. It will be Hassenauer's first career start. Hassunauer went undrafted out of Alabama in 2018 and had stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Birmingham Iron of the now-defunct Alliance of America Football. On April 5, 2019, Hassenuer signed with the Steelers but was waived prior to the start of the regular season. On Nov. 20, he was signed to the Steelers' practice squad and was promoted to the active roster on December 24. Hassenauer has been active for nine games this season and has played 22 snaps at center in mop-up duty in blowout wins against the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars.