Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach and Hall of Famer Bill Cowher says he can be added to the list of sports figures who have battled the coronavirus.
Cowher told The Athletic that he and his wife, singer Veronica Stigeler -- known by the stage name Queen V -- weren't tested for the virus when they were affected with symptoms in March but that they did test positive for antibodies a month later.
The couple first realized something was wrong when they lost their sense of smell and taste after returning from a trip to Honolulu, a last-minute change from their originally planned trip to visit Cowher's daughter, Lindsay, and son-in-law, Ryan Kelly, in Tokyo. Kelly, a former NBA player, was playing in Japan's B League when the league suspended play in early March.
On the way back, they flew through Newark Liberty International Airport and went to dinner in New York City before restaurants began closing. After that, Cowher told The Athletic, he and his wife began experiencing what would eventually be telltale coronavirus symptoms. In addition to the loss of smell and taste, both had shaky joints. Cowher had a slight fever, and his wife had a dry cough.
"I think I got it in New York and all the traveling, people coming into Newark airport at the same time," Cowher told The Athletic. "That's when the virus came from Europe and there was no shutdown. We were out in New York that weekend as well in a few restaurants. Who knows? There were people in Honolulu coming from China, and in Newark they were coming from Europe."
Cowher and his wife have recovered from the virus.
A member of the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cowher was set to be inducted in Canton next month along with Steelers safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell, a Centennial Class inductee, but those ceremonies and celebrations have been pushed back a year.
"I'm really kind of relieved," Cowher told The Athletic of the delayed induction. "As much as you want to be reflective and talk about the people who were so instrumental in your life, now is not the time, not just with COVID but with the social justice issues. These are very transparent times, and it's so fluid. The Hall of Fame needs to be reflective. I'm glad it's still going to be Dallas and Pittsburgh playing [next year], which is great. I think right now it's just hard to really think about anything celebratory when the country is in the state it is."