The Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with more than just butterflies ahead of their first AFC Championship Game appearance since 2010.
A wicked flu bug has swept through the Steelers’ facility this week, causing five players to miss practice.
Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton estimated as many as 15 Pittsburgh players have been affected by the illness, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
“I’m just thankful that I’ve stayed out of the line of fire,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Thursday, via ESPN.com. “We’re not making excuses. There won’t be. We’ll be there, we’ll be ready to play. This is just part of normal things that happen over the course of a season.”
Wide receiver Darrius Hewyard-Bey, kicker Chris Boswell, center B.J. Finney and quarterback Zach Mettenberger all missed practice Wednesday because of illness, and tight end Ladarius Green sat out Thursday’s session, according to the Steelers. Heyward-Bey, Boswell, Finney and Mettenberger all were back on the practice field Thursday.
The Steelers will visit the New England Patriots on Sunday, with the winner advancing to Super Bowl LI.
Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images