Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is sacked during the second quarter by Las Vegas Raiders  defensive tackle Solomon Thomas at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger aiming to play Sunday

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t sure how his left pectoral injury occurred during Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, but he is certain of one thing.

He’s not ready to concede the injury will keep him from playing Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals in a home matchup of 1-1 teams from the AFC North.

“Today is only Wednesday,” Roethlisberger told reporters, “so we have a lot of time to get ready to go.”

He said he can’t pinpoint the moment the injury happened, but felt it early in the game. He was hit 10 times by the Las Vegas defense.

“We knew going in there, they had a good rush that was going to be high motor guys, were going to get after it,” Roethlisberger, 39, said. “And so, you know, you have to prepare for that. But we all need to be better to eliminate hits, to have a better run game, to have more big plays, to be more efficient. So it’s on all of us to help those things.”

Roethlisberger said he hasn’t tried to throw a ball since Sunday. Wednesday is the first opportunity to measure the impact of the injury.

He’s playing behind a rebuilt offense line. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who spent six seasons in Pittsburgh, now plays for the rival Baltimore Ravens. And two All-Pros — center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro — are gone.

“I tell the guys a lot, no one has to be great,” Roethlisberger said of his new line. “If we’re all good, collectively we can be great. You know, offense is such a group effort. It takes literally all 11 guys on every play to make it work, and when one guy’s a little off here or there, you can affect the whole thing. So we’re just going to keep learning and growing and figuring out how we can try to get better.”

The Steelers are likely to measure the progress of a slew of injured players over the next two days, head coach Mike Tomlin said, including Roethlisberger’s favorite target this season. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson injured his right knee on the final play of last week’s game.

“He’s looking better, but that’s not to be confused with great,” Tomlin said of Johnson, who has a team-high 14 receptions in 2021.

Outside linebacker T.J. Watt and cornerback Joe Haden are dealing with groin injuries. Tomlin said it was too early in the week to know if either would play against the Bengals.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger dealing with pec injury

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with a left pectoral injury, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday.

Tomlin said the injury “could affect him from a preparation standpoint” this week as the Steelers (1-1) get ready to host the Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) on Sunday.

It was not immediately clear when the 39-year-old veteran sustained the injury.

He completed 27 of 40 passes for 295 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Sunday’s 26-17 setback to the Las Vegas Raiders. He was sacked two times.

Mason Rudolph is Roethlisberger’s backup and Dwayne Haskins is No. 3 on the depth chart.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) warms up before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Rudolph: Goal is to succeed Roethlisberger as Steelers’ starter

Mason Rudolph may be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ No. 2 quarterback entering the 2021 season, but he said he’s preparing to start for the storied franchise when the time arrives.

“That’s my goal, to be a starting quarterback in this league and for our team, and I’m working toward that goal every single day,” Rudolph said Tuesday. “I can only control myself and the way I prepare and the way I approach and play in OTAs and camp, and that’s on the forefront of my mind.

“I’m not worried about ‘22 or anything like that. I’m trying to live in the moment and be the best I can for my team.”

Ben Roethlisberger is entering his 18th season in the NFL after signing a restructured contract that included a pay cut over the offseason. He’s spent the entirety of his pro career in Pittsburgh and won two Super Bowls with the Steelers.

But Roethlisberger — who in 2018 was critical of the team’s decision to take a quarterback, Rudolph, in the third round of the draft — is 39 and not signed beyond 2021. Two other quarterbacks on the Steelers’ roster, Dwayne Haskins and Joshua Dobbs, are also only signed for one season.

Rudolph signed an extension in April that will take him through 2022 with the Steelers.

Rudolph started eight games in 2019 after Roethlisberger needed season-ending surgery on his throwing elbow. He led the Steelers to a 5-3 record in those games, and for the season, he finished with a 62.2 percent completion percentage, 1,765 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Rudolph also started in Week 17 for Pittsburgh in 2020.

“I think you’re always excited and looking forward to competition,” Rudolph said. “You know that it’s going to be there each and every year, it’s just a matter of who. … Competition makes everybody better, and you look forward to that, especially in the offseason.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Browns won 48-37. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger back in 2021

The agent for Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger told NFL Network on Tuesday that the team wants the quarterback under center this season under a revised cap hit.

The comments came the same day that Roethlisberger met with Steelers president Art Rooney II, a meeting that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported “went well.”

Roethlisberger is slated for a $41.25 million salary cap hit in 2021, a number the Steelers are desperate to bring down.

“They want Ben back and will contact me soon to address the cap situation,” Roethlisberger’s agent Ryan Tollner told NFL Network. “As we’ve shared since the season ended, we are happy to creatively adjust his contract to help them build the best team possible.”

Roethlisberger, who turns 39 in March, threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 15 games last season. Roethlisberger has thrown for 60,348 yards with 396 touchdowns and 201 interceptions in 233 career games since Pittsburgh selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 draft.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. (7) passes the ball against the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Report: QB Dwayne Haskins visiting Steelers

Former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins is visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, NFL Network reported.

Haskins, a first-round draft pick in 2019, was released by the Washington Football Team on Dec. 28. He reportedly also met with the Carolina Panthers earlier this month.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 15 games this past season.

Roethlisberger, who turns 39 on March 2, said that he hasn’t made a decision about his future following Pittsburgh’s 48-37 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the AFC wild-card game on Jan. 10. Roethlisberger threw for 501 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in that game.

Mason Rudolph remains under contract while fellow quarterback Josh Dobbs is set for free agency. Devlin “Duck” Hodges bid a public farewell over Twitter on Tuesday after his pact with the Steelers had expired.

Haskins’ release last month came after he posted a 3-10 record as a starter in Washington and followed an unmasked trip to a nightclub — a violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocol. In the wake of that incident, the team fined him $40,000 and he was stripped of his captaincy.

Haskins, 23, has completed 60.1 percent (267 of 444) of his passes for 2,804 yards with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 16 career games (13 starts).

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Steelers optimistic Roethlisberger (knees) will play Sunday

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured both knees on one play in Pittsburgh’s win in Dallas on Sunday, but the team doesn’t expect him to miss this week’s game home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Roethlisberger, who has endured knee injuries at times in his 17-year career, was caught between two Cowboys defenders just as he threw a pass late in the first half. He reached down to his legs after the play and appeared to motion to the bench about it.

After throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to complete the drive and cut the Cowboys’ lead to 13-6 with 1:10 left before intermission, Roethlisberger went to the locker room, missing the Steelers’ final possession of the half after a Cowboys fumble.

Roethlisberger returned to play the second half and finished with 306 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-42 passing. He has completed 196 of 288 passes (68.1 percent) this season for 18 touchdowns, and he has been intercepted four times.

The Steelers are cautiously optimistic about Roethlisberger’s chances of playing Sunday, according to NFL Network.

The Steelers (8-0) are the NFL’s only unbeaten team this season, and they have beaten the Bengals 10 straight times.

Roethlisberger has feasted on Cincinnati defenses in his career, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 7,310 yards, his highest yardage total against any team. Pittsburgh is 23-7 in games he has played against the Bengals.

–Field Level Media