The Pittsburgh Steelers have chosen a few starters to rest on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns and now they'll be down another starter on defense due to COVID-19. According to ESPN's Brooke Pryor, Joe Haden tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out for Sunday's game versus the Browns.
Heading into Week 17, the Steelers are currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC, with a chance to get the No. 2 seed with a win and a loss by the Buffalo Bills. However, instead of chasing for the second seed in the conference, Mike Tomlin is deciding to sit an array of starters.
Altogether, Tomlin is sitting Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, T.J. Watt, and Cameron Heyward against the Browns. But in Haden's case, he won't be available to the team due to a positive test he had on Saturday.
Besides missing Sunday's regular-season finale, Haden will have to quarantine for at least 10 days. As a result, there's a likely chance that Haden will miss the Steelers' first playoff game next weekend.
Despite Haden being in his 11th season, he is still a vital member of Pittsburgh's secondary. In 14 games with the Steelers this season, Haden has notched 52 tackles, 12 pass breakups, and two interceptions.
With Haden set to miss time, Cameron Sutton and Mike Hilton will likely see expanded roles in the secondary. Of course, Steven Nelson will operate one side of the field while Sutton and Hilton will be tasked with replacing the production of Haden.
While the Steelers head into the postseason, it appears they'll be a bit shorthanded on defense with Haden having to isolate himself from the team.