Minkah Fitzpatrick Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List by Steelers Ahead of Chargers Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 15, 2021

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 26, 2021 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Fitzpatrick is the second Steelers player added to the reserve/COVID-19 list. Ben Roethlisberger missed the team's 16-16 tie with the Detroit Lions in Week 10.  

Pittsburgh (5-3-1) returns to action against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Fitzpatrick has 64 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass breakup through nine games this season.

The status of the Alabama product, who turns 25 on Wednesday, for Week 11 is now in flux, and the Steelers have yet to activate Roethlisberger. Mason Rudolph went 30-of-50 for 242 yards, one touchdown and one interception, so starting him for a second straight game would be less than ideal.

Tre Norwood would likely take over for Fitzpatrick at free safety. The seventh-round draft pick out of Oklahoma has 19 tackles and three breakups in his rookie campaign.

Pittsburgh did at least get some good news on T.J. Watt. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, MRIs on the three-time Pro Bowler's knee and hip came back negative, so while the injuries continue to linger, the league's second-leading sacks leader this season (12.5) avoided the worst-case scenario.

Neutralizing Justin Herbert will be a key part of the Steelers' defensive game plan Sunday. The Chargers quarterback has thrown for 2,545 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Six of those interceptions have come in Los Angeles' four defeats.

Perhaps Fitzpatrick and Watt will get the green light to take the field at SoFi Stadium. In the event one or both are out, slowing down Herbert and the Bolts' passing game will become a more difficult task.