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Steelers activate Ben Roethlisberger from reserve/COVID list, eligible to play Sunday

Big Ben is on track to play Sunday vs. the Bengals.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have activated Ben Roethlisberger from the reserve/COVID list and the quarterback will be eligible to play on Sunday, the team announced Saturday.

"I feel great," Roethlisberger told reporters on Saturday. "My body enjoyed the week off; my mind from teaching pre-kindergarten did not enjoy the week off. It was fun to be home, but I definitely miss the guys."

Roethlisberger was among four Steelers identified as "high risk" close contacts in the wake of teammate Vance McDonald's positive COVID-19 test result this past Tuesday. Per the league's intensive protocols, Roethlisberger and the other three "high risk" close contacts spent five days in isolation and took part in virtual meetings throughout the week while on the reserve/COVID list.

Linebacker Vince Williams, running back Jaylen Samuels and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins were also activated from the reserve/COVID list on Saturday and are eligible to play as well. McDonald will remain on the list and has already been ruled out for Sunday. The Steelers would later place tackle Kevin Dotson on the reserve/COVID list and activate safety Antoine Brooks Jr. to the 53-man roster.

Quarantined at home this week, Roethlisberger spoke on his experience of virtual practice as he prepares to start on Sunday.

"It's definitely different in years past just because, typically, when I haven't practiced, I've been at least on the field behind the quarterbacks hearing the calls that were made," Roethlisberger said. "As coach Tomlin would say, 'in-helmet perspective.' Even if you're not out there you at least can hear it and be a part of it. So it's definitely different. I watched every play in practice but you just watch on your iPad at home and so you don't get to hear all those things."

Under the assumption his QB would be activated, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Friday that Roethlisberger will have an extended walk-through on Saturday to give him extra in-person time with teammates.

Tomlin's plan shall go forward as the Steelers (8-0) aim to keep their record perfect on Sunday vs. the Bengals (2-5-1).

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