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Steelers preparing as if Ben Roethlisberger will play Sunday vs. Bengals 

Ben Roethlisberger remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list after close contact with Vance McDonald . However, the Pittsburgh Steelers starting QB remains in line to play Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals as long as he continues to test negative.

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said it's not new for Big Ben to play on a Sunday without practicing for a full week.

"We'll prepare and continue to prepare as if Ben is playing," Fichtner said Thursday, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. "As of this point right now, he hasn't missed a rep. He doesn't practice on Wednesdays anyway. ... There's been various times in his career where he has not practiced all week and played in games and played successful in games. I don't question that one bit."

With Roethlisberger not practicing, Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs will receive extra snaps with the Steelers' first-team offense.

Big Ben is still able to be part of the QB and offensive meetings as they game-plan for Cincinnati.

"He's been great, because obviously he's accessible," Fichtner said. "He's got plenty of free time. We're the ones that have to make the time to fit. ... Ben likes to text, so we get texts at night and go back and forth about a lot of things. ... It's as if he's been in the room."

Roethlisberger and the Steelers will face a Bengals defense that ranks near the bottom of the NFL in nearly every category. On paper, it appears a mismatch, even with Big Ben sitting out practices. But so did last week against a similarly weak Cowboys defense, and Pittsburgh struggled out of the gate before surging for a W.

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