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Chargers Pro Bowl pass rusher Joey Bosa and defensive lineman Jerry Tillery were placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, leaving the status of both players for Sunday night’s home game against the Steelers in doubt.
Vaccinated players can return to the team if they are able to submit two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart. Unvaccinated players must isolate for a period of 10 days and will then be permitted to return to the team if asymptomatic.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Bosa has tallied 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in nine games this season. If Bosa can’t play, he would likely be replaced by rookie Chris Rumph II, who has six tackles in nine games this season. A fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, Rumph recorded eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss during his final season at Duke.
Tillery, a three-year veteran, has recorded 2.5 sacks and 30 tackles this season. His backup on the Chargers’ depth chart is Joe Gaziano, a two-year veteran who has made four tackles this season.
The Chargers’ opponent on Sunday night is also dealing with issues associated with COVID-19. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger remains on the team’s COVID-19 list after testing positive for the virus last Saturday. He was replaced by Mason Rudolph during Pittsburgh’s tie with Detroit last Sunday. Free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick joined Roethlisberger on the COVID-19 list after testing positive for the virus following Sunday’s game.
The Steelers are also dealing with injuries to outside linebacker T.J. Watt and cornerback Joe Haden. Watt sustained hip and knee injuries on Sunday, while Haden is considered day-to-day day with a foot injury.
Sunday night’s game is a pivotal contest for both teams. The Steelers are currently a half-game behind the Ravens for first place in the AFC North. The Chargers are a half game back of the Chiefs for first place in the AFC West race.