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Coach Mike Tomlin: Steelers Planning To Start Mason Rudolph But Won't Rule Out Ben Roethlisberger

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Steelers are planning to start Mason Rudolph as quarterback against the Chargers, but coach Mike Tomlin said he'll "leave the light on" for Ben Roethlisberger if he tests negative for COVID-19.

"We're going to build our plan around getting Mason ready to play," Tomlin said at his Tuesday press conference. "We're going to highlight his talents and skills relative to the opponents we intend to play."

Rudolph was quarterback against the Lions Sunday after Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID-19. The Steelers neither won nor lost, the game ending in a 16-16 tie.

"We have a young offensive unit, and we'll let that lead us throughout the week. If we get to a point in the week where Ben has an opportunity to get on a moving train, that's exactly what we'll do," said Tomlin.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is also on the COVID-19 list and isn't likely to play in LA. Tomlin said he's assuming Fitzpatrick won't be able to clear COVID-19 protocols in time.

The Chargers are also dealing with virus protocols, reportedly placing Joey Bosa and Jerry Tillery on the COVID-19 list, according to Field Yates.

On top of COVID-19 cases, the Steelers are dealing with several injuries.

MRIs on T.J. Watt's knee and hip came back negative Monday but he's still sore, according to sources for ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Watt limped off the field with seconds left in the third quarter against Detroit.

It's uncertain how much time Watt will miss, if any, Schefter reported. The star defenseman watched the rest of the game from the sidelines.

Tomlin didn't give many details on Watt's injury but said he's not ruling him out.

"I'll always leave the light on for T.J. Watt. The things that he does routinely are things that are not done routinely by others," said Tomlin.

Offensive guard Kevin Dotson also left Sunday's game with an ankle injury. Dotson is believed to have suffered a high-ankle sprain, a source for Ian Rapoport said. He's considered week-to-week.

Tomlin said he's also not ruling out Dotson, and it's the same thing for Joe Haden, who's dealing with a foot injury.

Chase Claypool is expected to practice Wednesday after a toe injury, and Tomlin said he's excited to see where that work leads.

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