Gerry Dulac reports this afternoon via Twitter that the Pittsburgh Steelers want quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to play about 25-30 snaps Sunday against the Cleveland Browns as they close out the regular season on the road in Cleveland. Dulac reports that they don\’t want to go into playoffs with Roethlisberger missing all of the last 2 games of the regular season. Roethlisberger was active on the Saturday against the St. Louis Rams, but was only available in case of emergency according to head coach Mike Tomlin after the game.
If Roethlisberger were to sit out Sunday against the Browns, and the Steelers some how win the AFC North and get a first round bye, it would be nearly 4 weeks that he would have gone without some sort of game action. Roethlisberger suffered a left high ankle sprain back in week 14 against the Browns, but was able to play the following Monday against the San Francisco 49ers, thanks to the long layoff between games. Despite playing against the 49ers, Roethlisberger was severely limited in his mobility and ended up throwing 3 interceptions in the loss. He did however play the full game.
Tomlin was asked today during his Tuesday press conference about the status of Roethlisberger this week against the Browns, but would only say that only the players healthy enough to practice this week would play. When pressed further about Roethlisberger and if he would practice this week, Tomlin would only say that we will see Wednesday.
It makes sense that they want to get Roethlisberger some work this week before the playoffs, as to avoid the rust from sitting in. Thursday and Friday will likely be key practice days for him as far as his participation level goes as he has not seen a lot of practice time since he was initially injured. Should Roethlisberger not be ready by Sunday, Charlie Batch would make his second consecutive start in his place.