Mason Rudolph will start Steelers’ final regular season game, other starters could rest

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC to get the coveted bye week, so it appears at least one of their starters are getting Week 17 against Cleveland off instead.

In his weekly press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin announced Ben Roethlisberger will not play against the Browns on Sunday. In his place, backup Mason Rudolph will get the start.

Tomlin said some of the other starters could be held out of the final regular season game, but no one else was mentioned specifically. He doesn’t want to make this seem like a preseason game.

The Steelers locked up the AFC North with their comeback win against Indianapolis, and they will get either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the AFC depending on if the Buffalo Bills win their final game.

Some wondered if Pittsburgh would want to keep Roethlisberger at the helm, at least to start the game, in order to continue the momentum the offense picked up in the second half of last Sunday’s game.

However, Tomlin said his team still has a job to do regardless of who’s at quarterback: beat the Browns.

The last time Rudolph started against Cleveland was Nov. 14, 2019 -- when the game infamously ended in a brawl after Myles Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and hit him in the head.