Will Ben Roethlisberger play Sunday night vs. the Chargers?

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has a chance to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers despite testing positive for COVID-19.

Yes. That’s the short answer to a long question — and a long week of waiting. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Saturday morning that star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has passed all the NFL’s required COVID-19 protocols and is expected to start Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I have no reservations” of playing Roethlisberger with no practice, Tomlin said earlier this week — and he meant it.

The Green Bay Packers did just that with Aaron Rodgers in Week 10, starting him against the Seahawks despite missing two weeks of practice after testing positive for COVID-19. Rodgers was rusty, but he did enough to help the Packers beat the Seahawks convincingly.

Ben Roethlisberger’s COVID-19 status

It is believed Roethlisberger tested positive last Saturday morning, but since he is vaccinated, he was not subject to the 10-day minimum quarantine that Rodgers was. Instead, he simply needed to be asymptomatic and have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart by Sunday to play against the Chargers. He met that prerequisite, and will come off the reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, the team announced Saturday morning.

The Steelers are playing in Los Angeles, while teams often fly out two days prior to the game when going from the East Coast to the West Coast, they waited until Saturday to make the trip. Roethlisberger, however, will fly separately, the Steelers announced.

If there is any snafu, either medically or logistically, between now and kickoff, Mason Rudolph for his 11th start in three seasons.

“We’re going to build a plan around Mason,” Tomlin said Tuesday, when Roethlisberger’s status was very much unclear. “We’ll start weighing those [other] things as the sands run through the hourglass.”

Mason Rudolph in line to start

Rudolph, on one-day notice, completed 30 of 50 passes for 242 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT in Pittsburgh’s Week 10 tie against the Lions.

“I thought he could have been better from a pinpoint accuracy standpoint,” Tomlin said of his backup QB. “But I don’t think any of us were surprised [with how Rudolph performed]. … We just expect that guy to play winning football for us.”

Roethlisberger, participated in all meetings virtually this week, is one of two Steelers starters to test positive in recent days.

The other player to test positive is safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Steelers are planning as if Fitzpatrick will be unavailable to play against the Chargers.

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