Steelers notebook: Cornerback Joe Haden ruled out against Bengals
Cornerback Joe Haden will miss a third consecutive game with a fractured fibula when the Steelers play the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium.
Coach Mike Tomlin, at his news press conference Tuesday, wouldn’t make any declarations about Haden’s availability beyond the game against the Bengals.
“No clarity on his situation and when he’ll return,” Tomlin said. “As we get close, I’ll ask more definitive questions about where he is.”
Tomlin said tight end Vance McDonald (ankle) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) “definitely will have a chance” to return against the Bengals. McDonald missed the past two games, and Smith-Schuster sat out the 31-28 win over Green Bay, the first absence of his young NFL career.
Linebacker Ryan Shazier (ankle) and free safety Mike Mitchell (ankle) could be limited in practice early in the week, Tomlin said. The Steelers have an extra day of practice this week because of the Monday night game.
Tomlin is open to Martavis Bryant getting more chances as a kickoff returner, although he wasn’t ready to commit to anything Tuesday.
Bryant, who hadn’t returned kicks since college, returned the opening kickoff 38 yards and averaged 29 yards on two returns. The 38-yarder was a season long for the Steelers.
“We’ll keep looking,” Tomlin said. “That opportunity was born out of injury to JuJu. He did some nice things, and we’ll weigh those options when we look at who is available to us this week.”
The Steelers’ game in Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens will not be flexed out of its prime-time slot by the NFL. Kickoff remains at 8:30 p.m., and will be the fourth consecutive night game for the Steelers.
The only games moved by the NFL that weekend were the Dallas-New York Giants game to 1 p.m. on Fox and the Seattle-Jacksonville game to 4:25 p.m. on Fox.
The Steelers added running back Terrell Watson to the practice squad. The move came three days after Watson was waived to make room for running back Fitzgerald Toussaint on the 53-man roster.