Steelers Denied Permission to Host Fans in Playoff Opener

The Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping to welcome fans back to Heinz Field as they hosted the Browns.
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PITTSBURGH -- Despite hopes that they'd be able to work out plans for the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers will not host fans on Sunday. 

As the Steelers kickoff against the Cleveland Browns to open their preseason, Heinz Field will be empty. Last week, the team told AllSteelers they were working with public health officials in hopes of finalizing plans to welcome fans for the first round of the postseason. 

Team spokesperson Burt Lauten released a statement on Thursday, apologizing that the Steelers will not have anyone in attendance.

"We are disappointed we will not be able to host our season ticket holders and other fans at Heinz Field on Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns in our AFC Wild Card Game," Lauten said. "We were hoping to receive approval to host fans for the playoffs at a capacity similar to our games in October and November, but unfortunately the state's orders will only permit 2,500 total people in the building, including players, coaches and staff."

The Steelers hosted 5,500 fans during their Oct. and Nov. games. They will welcome select family and friends on Sunday. 

Pittsburgh will host the Browns Sunday night at 8:15 p.m. ET. 

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.