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Steelers not ruling out Roethlisberger vs. Browns

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  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey have a "shot" to play in the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns.

Both players sat out last Saturday's 27-0 victory over St. Louis with high ankle sprains. Veteran Charlie Batch passed for 208 yards in place of Roethlisberger, who was active but missed his first game of the season. A series of injuries along the offensive line forced Trai Essex to take snaps at center for the first time.

Tomlin praised the play of the backups but wouldn't rule out Roethlisberger or Pouncey against the struggling Browns (4-11). He expects Pouncey to be able to practice Wednesday, but wouldn't commit to the same for Roethlisberger.

"It's our intention right now that if the guys are healthy enough to practice and prepare, then of course we'll play them," Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger suffered the high ankle sprain against the Browns on Dec. 8 and then gritted his way through a loss to the San Francisco 49ers the following week. He did not practice last week before sitting out against the Rams. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora previously reported that team sources said Roethlisberger was likely to sit out the final two games of the regular season.

Tomlin described injured running back Mewelde Moore (MCL sprain) and guard Doug Legursky (left shoulder) as on the outside looking in, while saying the rest of the injured players should play.

Pittsburgh (11-4) can win the AFC North with a win and a loss by Baltimore. The Steelers can win the North and be the top seed in the AFC if they beat the Browns combined with losses by the Ravens and New England Patriots.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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