Pittsburgh Steelers’ Diontae Johnson off reserve/COVID-19 list after just one day

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PITTSBURGH — Just one day after he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson was activated off it Friday.

Johnson, who leads the team with 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches on 100 receptions, is a key piece of the offense for the Steelers’ regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.

Under new return-to-play protocols adopted in December, NFL players who are vaccinated and asymptomatic can return to practice and games based on a metric that measures the viral load of a player, known as the “cycle threshold” (CT). That testing can begin as soon as one day after the initial positive.

Johnson had two touchdowns and 105 receiving yards earlier this season against the Ravens, who have the league’s worst pass defense.

Though Johnson was activated, the Steelers still have two starters on the reserve/COVID-19 list: cornerback Joe Haden and center Kendrick Green.

Defensive coordinator Keith Butler is also in protocols, though coach Mike Tomlin didn’t rule him out for Sunday’s game. He said defensive playcalling duties would be determined “at the 11th hour.”



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