Big Ben, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown could sit Sunday

This time around, the Pittsburgh Steelers won't toy with fate.

Coach Mike Tomlin on Wednesday "strongly indicated" that a handful of his star players will not suit up for Sunday's low-stakes meeting with the Cleveland Browns, per Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

With his team locked into the AFC's No. 3 seed, Tomlin said that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell, wideout Antonio Brown and center Maurkice Pouncey "will get that consideration" as players who will be "preserved" leading up to the wild-card round.

This makes sense for a Steelers team that went into last year's divisional-round bout with Denver -- a game they lost 23-16 -- minus a banged-up Brown and Bell. One season earlier, the Steelers were nipped by the Ravens in a wild-card tilt that saw Pittsburgh try to replace Bell -- injured in Week 17 -- with Josh Harris and Ben Tate. This time around, Bell certainly deserves a rest after accounting for a league-high 56.8 percent of his team's touches since Week 4.

Sitting players is no magic formula, but Pittsburgh is doing the right thing here. After both the Raiders and Dolphins lost starting quarterbacks to injury, the Steelers are guaranteeing themselves a chance to enter the postseason at full strength against a weakened AFC.

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