With Roethlisberger out, backup Mason Rudolph is expected to get his first start of the 2021 season.
Roethlisberger recently said during an interview on “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.
The Steelers did not specify whether Roethlisberger tested positive for the virus or was a close contact of someone who was infected, but according to the league’s COVID-19 protocols for this year, vaccinated players are not required to quarantine if they are a close contact. A vaccinated player who tests positive must have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart and remain asymptomatic in order to return.
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.