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Will Ben Roethlisberger play Sunday night vs. the Chargers?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing as if Mason Rudolph will start Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. Tomlin added: “We’ll definitely leave the light on” for Ben Roethlisberger, who missed the Lions game after testing positive for COVID-19.

“I have no reservations” of playing Roethlisberger with little to no practice, Tomlin said. Roethlisberger “has an opportunity .. to be available to play.”

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 Saturday morning, but since he is vaccinated, he is not subject to the 10-day minimum quarantine that Rodgers was. Instead, he simply needs to be asymptomatic and have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart by Sunday to play against the Chargers. However, the team’s travel schedule this week could complicate things.

The Steelers are playing in Los Angeles, and teams often fly out two days prior to the game when going from the East Coast to the West Coast. Roethlisberger needs to be out of the protocol to fly with the club. Still, in theory, nothing is stopping him from chartering his own flight and meeting the team in LA.

That was a conversation for another day, however. The focus Tuesday was on preparing Rudolph for his 11th start in three seasons.

“We’re going to build a plan around Mason,” Tomlin said. “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, who will participate 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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