With Roethlisberger out, backup Mason Rudolph is expected to get his first start of the 2021 season.
Roethlisberger recently said during an interview with the Dan Patrick Show that he is vaccinated, meaning it is possible he could return for next Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. According to the league’s COVID-19 protocols, a vaccinated player must return two negative tests 24 hours apart and be asymptomatic in order to return. If showing symptoms, vaccinated players can return after 10 days, at most.
Rudolph last saw game action in Week 17 of the 2020 season. He also started eight games during the 2019 season after Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury. In his career, Rudolph has thrown 15 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He has been sacked 16 times.
Roethlisberger took fewer reps than usual this week, not practicing Wednesday or Thursday after Monday night’s win over the Chicago Bears, meaning Rudolph got extra work ahead of the unexpected start Sunday.
With Roethlisberger out, former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, who signed a one-year deal with the Steelers in the offseason, will be active for the first time this season.
Roethlisberger is the first Steelers player to be put on the COVID-19 list this season. A year ago, Roethlisberger landed on the list as a close contact of tight end Vance McDonald, who tested positive, but the quarterback didn’t miss a game.
The line for Sunday’s game moved from Pittsburgh -8 to -6.5 at Caesars Sportsbook with the news that Roethlisberger was ruled out.