Sunday’s Week 17 battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns of the AFC North got an extra storyline on Tuesday.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced during his weekly presser that backup quarterback Mason Rudolph will get the call to play for regular starter Ben Roethlisberger.
Sitting Roethlisberger is not a surprise considering he has been on the injury report recently, and a report came out via Jason La Canfora a few weeks back that the organization was concerned about Big Ben’s knees.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 29, 2020
For Rudolph, the game has a whole different meaning, after last season’s first meeting between the two clubs on Nov 14.
Late in the game with Cleveland decidedly ahead 21-7, a brawl broke out between the teams. During the skirmish, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett pulled Rudolph’s helmet off and hit the quarterback in the head with it.
It was a costly action for Garrett, who was sat down by Roger Goodell and the NFL for the remainder of the 2019 season.
After starting eight games and playing in 10 last year for the Steelers, Rudolph has been mostly an afterthought this year, appearing in just three games. Roethlisberger has started all 15 games at QB.
On Monday, Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi spoke to reporters about the potential matchup with Rudolph at quarterback.
He said that the game plan would not change, no matter which player lines up under center for the 12-3 Steelers.
“The only element right now as far as the game is concerned is we win and we are in. That is it. We are trying to keep it strictly about winning,” Ogunjobi said.
“Whatever is done is done. I understand the emotions and all of that kind of stuff, but I feel like Myles’ maturity level and the team’s maturity level as a whole is that we understand that this is bigger than one incident and bigger than one situation.
“Right now, it is about doing something that has not been done in a very long time, and it is about playing for each and every one of us, our brothers, and finding a way to win. That is the most important thing. That is my take on it.”