Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers issue statement after NJ lab reports issues with COVID-19 tests

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet sits on the field during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert issued a statement following the news that a New Jersey lab handling COVID-19 tests for a number of NFL teams was reporting issues with the test results. The issue appears to involve a large number of false positive results, according to the Associated Press.

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Here is the statement in full:

“On Saturday, we had six players absent from practice due to our adherence to NFL COVID-19 protocol. None of those players were required to be placed on Reserve/COVID-19 [list] and will be returning to meetings today and practice on Monday”.

Colbert’s statement comes after Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reported a number of players sat out of Saturday night’s practice. ESPN reported the team had six false positive tests.

During a media event, Steelers linebacker Tyson Alualu was asked are these false positive results a concern, especially as the start of the season nears.

“I hope not. I think the league has done a great job, I know that they’re learning from this. It’s probably better that they catch it early on, and kind of take care of it, which I know they will. It’s tough because you never want to be a false positive, and miss some of the important reps, whether it’s at practice, but especially on game day. I just trust and believe that they’ll get something done,” Alualu said.

MORE DETAILS: NJ lab finds positive COVID-19 tests from several teams

NFL officials issued a statement Sunday morning about the testing issue, saying “several positive tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory” were being found. Other labs handling NFL coronavirus testing have not reported any similar issues, according to the league. Officials with the Chicago Bears reported finding nine false positives.

AFC North divisional rival Cleveland Browns completely canceled all in-person activities and moved to hold all meetings virtually Sunday following the news.

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Two Steelers players had tested positive in early spring and no players from the team have chosen to sit out the season due to virus concerns.