James Conner Placed on Steelers' COVID-19 List; out vs. Ravens

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IINovember 28, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) warms up prior to taking on the New York Giants in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they placed running back James Conner on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.

This comes after they also placed defensive end Stephon Tuitt, defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins on the list on Friday.

Their game against the Baltimore Ravens was already moved to Tuesday, Dec. 1 because of COVID-19 issues in Baltimore.

Conner exited the Steelers' Week 1 win over the New York Giants early with an ankle injury, but he returned in Week 2 to tack on 116 yards and a touchdown on 16 rushes while also grabbing two catches for 15 yards. After another start in Week 3's win against Houston, where he had a season-best 18 attempts for 109 yards and a touchdown, he had a quieter outing with just 44 yards on 15 carries in Week 5. When he reentered the starting lineup for the Steelers in Week 6, he averaged 63 yards through four games, adding two rushing touchdowns and reeling in nine receptions for 41 yards.

The day after the Week 1 injury, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the team will "leave the light on" for him heading into a Week 2 home matchup with the Denver Broncos, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported at the time that Conner suffered a sprained ankle and that the Steelers were "optimistic for a timely return."

Conner left the opener early in the second quarter after grabbing two of four targets for a total of eight yards and having six carries for nine. After his departure, second-year running back Benny Snell Jr., who was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round in 2019, picked up a career-high 113 rushing yards on 19 carries.

After a strong rookie year in 2017, Conner has struggled to stay healthy and missed a total of nine games through the previous two seasons. But when he's healthy, the 2018 Pro Bowler is a strong addition to the Steelers offense, with 1,590 career rushing yards on 369 carries with 16 touchdowns. As a receiver, he has amassed 756 yards on 91 receptions (114 targets) with four touchdowns.

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Conner will become a free agent this upcoming offseason.