Jerald Hawkins

Ravens, Steelers Place 3 Players On Reserve/COVID-19 List

5:52pm: While a sixth straight day did produce a Ravens positive coronavirus test, just one player’s test came back positive Friday. Practice squad offensive lineman Will Holden tested positive, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Holden will become the 15th player on Baltimore’s reserve/COVID-19 list. This will continue to be the NFL situation to monitor over the next few days.

3:28pm: The Ravens and Steelers each moved three players to their respective reserve/COVID-19 lists Friday. This comes shortly after the NFL pushed the AFC North’s top rivalry back to Tuesday night.

Stephon Tuitt, defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins are now on the Steelers’ virus list, while the Ravens moved fullback Patrick Ricard, long snapper Morgan Cox and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike to theirs. Lamar Jackson also landed on Baltimore’s COVID list. The reigning MVP tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday; Ricard confirmed (via Twitter) he tested positive as well.

For the Ravens, this increases their COVID list to 14 players — including key cogs Jackson, Ricard, Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Matt Skura, Pernell McPhee, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins. This concerning number resulted in the NFL moving the Ravens-Steelers rematch for a second time. The 7pm Tuesday slot, however, represents conceivably the final Week 12 window for this game. Another delay would test the NFL in a way previous virus issues have not.

It is not known if Tuitt tested positive. If he did not, he could still play Tuesday. Depending on when the standout defensive lineman’s last contact with a COVID-19-positive person occurred, he could still be activated in time for the Steelers’ Tuesday game. With the NFL moving Week 13’s Ravens-Cowboys game to Monday, Dec. 7, Jackson could be activated. Had the NFL kept that game on Thursday — which it will if the Steelers-Ravens tilt cannot be played Tuesday — Jackson would have been ineligible to return for that contest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Activate QB Ben Roethlisberger, Three Others

Following a brief stint on the COVID-19 reserve list, Ben Roethlisberger will be under center tomorrow against the Bengals. The Steelers announced that they’ve activated their quarterback from the COVID-19 list. The team also activated offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, running back Jaylen Samuels, and linebacker Vince Williams.

The four players didn’t test positive, but they were close contacts of tight end Vance McDonald, who had a positive test earlier this week. As a result, these players had to isolate for several days and test negative before rejoining the squad.

“I’m doing good,” Roethlisberger said (via Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette on Twitter). “I feel great. If my body enjoyed the week off, my mind teaching pre-kindergarten did not enjoy the week off. It’s fun to be home, but I definitely missed the guys.”

Naturally, the team is now making up for lost time in their preparation for Cincinnati. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that Roethlisberger was expected to participate in the Steelers walkthrough this morning, with the team hoping to get their veteran quarterback some extra time on the practice field.

After being limited to only a pair of games in 2019, the 38-year-old has played a major role in the Steelers undefeated record in 2020. Roethlisberger has completed 68.1-percent of his passes (a mark that would be a career high) for 1,934 yards, 18 touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Place Ben Roethlisberger On COVID-19 List

The Steelers have placed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the COVID-19 reserve list, per a club announcement. Running back Jaylen Samuels, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, and linebacker Vince Williams have also been added to the list. 

The news comes just hours after tight end Vance McDonald was parked with the same designation. Per league rules, each Steelers player will have to isolate for several days and test negative before rejoining the team.

Roethlisberger is not believed to have tested positive. Instead, he was deemed a high-risk, close contact, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Depending on what happens from here, the QB may have a chance to start on Sunday against the Bengals.

Meanwhile, Big Ben is hoping to heal up from double knee injuries suffered against the Cowboys. Despite that setback, Roethlisberger and the Steelers won 24-19 and advanced to 8-0 on the year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/15/20

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Steelers Trade Jerald Hawkins To Bucs

The Buccaneers have acquired offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins from the Steelers (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). In the deal, the Bucs will swap positions with the Steelers in a late round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh shipped Hawkins and a 2021 seventh-round pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round selection, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

The deal amounts to a low-cost way to the Bucs to fortify their front five. Hawkins, a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft, only has five career appearances and one start under his belt. Last year, he was slated to serve as Alejandro Villanueva‘s backup, but a quad tear wiped out his entire 2018 campaign.

Hawkins likely would have been cut by the Steelers, leaving his fate up to the waiver wire. Instead, he has secured a spot for Week 1, in a warm-weather destination. That’s not a terrible outcome for the Louisiana native and LSU product.

Steelers Expected To Place T Jerald Hawkins On IR

The Steelers are expected to place reserve offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins on injured reserve after he underwent surgery to repair his torn quad, a source tells Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Hawkins will not be a candidate to return from injured reserve, as IR/return players must be carried through to their respective team’s 53-man roster. Given that Hawkins is landing on IR in June, he’s not eligible to come off the list later this season. A surgically-repaired torn quad can have varying recovery times, and can take anywhere from four-to-twelve months to revert to normal use.

Hawkins, a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft, only has five career appearances and one start under his belt, but he was slated to open the 2018 campaign as Pittsburgh’s backup left tackle behind starter Alejandro Villanueva. With Hawkins sidelined, the Steelers may now turn to rookie third-rounder Chukwuma Okorafor, Matt Feiler, Jake Rodgers, or Joe Cheek as their primary swing tackle.

Given their relative lack of depth, it’s also possible the Steelers turn to the free agent market to look for a veteran tackle. Will Beatty has played that role for both the Giants and Eagles in recent seasons, while other available options include Chris Clark, Greg Robinson, and Chris Hairston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Steelers, Packers, Vikings

When the Packers signed Byron Bell earlier today, most assumed it was for a reserve, depth role. But now Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press Gazette writes that Bell may end up starting for the Packers. Wood notes that there is concern in the organization about longtime right tackle Bryan Bulaga‘s recovery from his ACL tear.

Bulaga, the Packers’ first-round pick back in 2010, tore his left ACL in week nine of last season. According to Wood, Bulaga is unlikely to be ready for week one, and there’s no real timetable for when he might be ready. Wood thinks placing Bulaga on the PUP list and holding him out at least the first six weeks of the season is a real possibility.

The good news for the Packers is that Bell has plenty of starting experience. He’s started 74 games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011. There was some talk earlier this offseason that the team could move on from Bulaga after he refused to take a pay cut, but the Packers seem committed to his return for now.

Here’s more from around the league’s northern divisions:

  • It’s yet to be officially diagnosed by team doctors, but Steelers tight end Jake McGee appears to have suffered a torn Achilles in practice, according to Mike Garafalo of NFL Network (Twitter link). McGee spent last year on the practice squad but Garafalo notes that some thought he could make the 53-man roster this year. If it is confirmed to be a torn Achilles, his season will be over.
  • The Steelers suffered another injury during Wednesday’s workout when backup offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins went down with a torn quad (Twitter link via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN). Fowler notes that Hawkins could go on injured reserve, but if he follows the normal timeline for a torn quad, he could be back in time for the regular season.
  • It was reported yesterday that Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr had reported to OTAs after skipping the first few sessions. Now, Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune says that he “wouldn’t be surprised if there were some candid talks in the last week” and adds that the Vikings have a “long and productive” relationship with Barr’s agent (Twitter link). It’s nothing concrete, but it’s another sign that Barr and the Vikings could be inching closer to working something out.

Steelers Trim Roster To 79

The Steelers have placed rookie OT Jerald Hawkins on the reserved/injured list and have waived/injured quarterback Dustin Vaughan, as Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Per Fittipaldo, the club has also cut the following players:

  • LB Jordan Zumwalt
  • LB Mike Reilly
  • WR Levi Norwood
  • WR Isaac Blakeney
  • TE Michael Cooper
  • DE Giorgio Newberry
  • DT K.K. Mosley-Smith
  • CB Julian Whigham

Zumwalt, the Steelers‘ sixth-round pick in 2014, spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons on injured reserve with a hip injury, and the hip surgery that ended his 2015 campaign before it started took over five hours to complete and included a brutal recovery/rehabilitation period. Zumwalt had been working exclusively at inside linebacker in offseason workouts, but he did not do enough to survive the first round of cuts.

The Steelers now have79 players on their roster and must get down to 75 by Tuesday at 4pm.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/2/16

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • The Steelers have signed fourth-round offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins, as Teresa Varley of Steelers.com writes. Hawkins offers experience at both left and right tackle but he’s expected to play on the left side for Pittsburgh. “He can come in here and help right away by competing and pushing the guys and making them better,” said offensive line coach Mike Munchak. “It just makes the group better when you can bring in a good athlete and a good player that has the ability to compete and help us become better. “We feel this guy can come in and learn from the guys we have, push the guys that we have and now it’s just a matter of how quickly we feel he can contribute.”
  • The Cardinals signed wide receiver Marquis Bundy, safety Tyrequek Zimmerman, and guard Jake Bernstein to return to the 90-man roster limit, Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com tweets.
  • The Chargers have agreed to sign guard/tackle Brett Boyko, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • To make room, the Chargers waived offensive lineman Zeth Ramsay, as Eric Williams of ESPN.com tweets. The Bolts now have 17 offensive linemen on their 90-man roster.
  • The Lions announced that they have signed UDFA kicker Devon Bell and waived punter Kyle Christy. Bell, a Mississippi State product, played in all 13 games last year and averaged 62.1 yards per kickoff, while also punting nine times for 370 yards (41.1 avg).
  • The Jaguars have signed guard Patrick Omameh and released offensive lineman Patrick Miller, as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets. Omameh has played in 30 games over the course of his NFL career.
  • The Redskins signed UDFA wide receiver Jarvis Turner, Master Tesfatsion of The Washington Post tweets.
  • The Seahawks signed fullback Kyle Coleman, as Wilson tweets. A rookie with tight end experience who played at Arkansas State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Coleman will possibly audition at multiple spots in Seattle, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes.
  • The Jets announced that they’ve signed guard Mike Liedtke, while adding that they’ve cleared a roster spot by waiving tackle Luke Marquardt.

NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Giants, Lions

The latest out of the NFC:

  • Defensive end Jason Jones is still in play for the Cowboys, a source tells David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). However, the deal would have to be similar to the one-year, $1.1MM deal that Jack Crawford agreed to with Dallas on Monday.
  • Former Dolphins linebacker Kelvin Sheppard visited the Giants on Monday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Giants brought in offensive linemen Ben Ijalana and Byron Stingily for a visit on Monday, as Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets.
  • The Lions‘ pre-draft visits are underway, and the team looked at offensive line prospects on Monday, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that tackles Jerald Hawkins (LSU), Shon Coleman (Auburn), Caleb Benenoch (UCLA), and Jason Spriggs (Indiana) are meeting with the Lions.
  • Bowling Green center-guard Alex Huettel worked out for the Lions, a source tells Wilson (on Twitter).
  • Ohio State safety Vonn Bell has (or has had) meetings, workouts, or visits with the Cardinals and Vikings as well as the Jaguars, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Saints conducted private workout for Cal wide receiver Darius Powe on Monday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Powe didn’t have any drops, according to a source, and drew praise from New Orleans brass.
  • The Eagles are hosting Florida wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson on a visit, a source tells Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic (on Twitter).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.