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One and off for Hall of Fame Game starters?

LATROBE, Pa. (AP) - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may one and done in Sunday's Hall of Fame game (NFL Network, 8 p.m. ET) against the New Orleans Saints.

That's one series and off the field.

Coach Mike Tomlin plans for his starters to play only 12 to 15 snaps, or about two series of play in the first of the Steelers' five preseason games. Mostly, he wants them on the field to get their timing down under game conditions.

Roethlisberger, who has enjoyed a strong training camp to date, may play even less than that.

"It is our intention to play Ben a little less than most of the starters and go with Charlie Batch after that," Tomlin said Friday.

With Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker out with a sore knee, Najeh Davenport will start, but the other running backs in camp should get plenty of work. Also out are linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin), the first-round pick who has barely practiced since being drafted in April.

Because their Hall of Fame game appearance in Canton, Ohio, required the Steelers to report to camp for to five days ahead of most NFL teams, Tomlin knows his players are ready to go against somebody other than themselves.

"We look forward to taking the next step Sunday night and seeing where we are against some unfamiliar faces," Tomlin said.

Training camp 2007


NFL.com's training camp tour:

To Tomlin, what occurs in the preseason counts more than what takes place on the practice field.

"It's a little different when the lights go on," Tomlin said. "I think you weigh them heavier than you do practices. The level of intensity is up a notch, it really is, particularly in the special teams games. It's very tough to simulate that on the practice field."

No doubt Tomlin is eager to see if all the practice time devoted to special teams will play off in the kicking time. Neither of his two immediate predecessors, Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll, devoted nearly as much practice time to special teams as Tomlin has.

"I want to see what this team is about," Tomlin said. "I try not to go in with any preconceived notions."

Notes: As expected, Tomlin called off Friday morning's planned practice. The team worked out once, in the afternoon. ... Also out are LB Derek Rehage (thumb) and OL Darnell Stapleton (knee). Stapleton had surgery Friday to repair torn knee cartilage. ... LB James Harrison, the likely replacement for Joey Porter at right outside linebacker, likely will sit out with sore ribs. If he doesn't play, second-round draft pick LaMarr Woodley will start. ... Willie Reid, the second-year wide receiver returning from a serious foot injury, will return punts and kickoffs. He played in only one game last season. ... Batch will be followed by Brian St. Pierre and Bryan Randall. ... The Steelers will have their first offday in 15 days on Monday. They haven't been off since reporting to camp July 23. They have only one practice scheduled Tuesday.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

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