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Pittsburgh 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 offensive 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