Star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been rested by the Pittsburgh Steelers for their NFL clash with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, meaning a potentially explosive return for Mason Rudolph.
The last time Rudolph faced Cleveland the game was marred by a post-play fracas involving Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.
Garrett was suspended for ripping off Rudolph’s helmet and striking him over the head with it with seconds remaining.
Pittsburgh (12-3) have already clinched the AFC North crown but cannot claim the top seed in the AFC, prompting coach Mike Timlin to give Roethlisberger the weekend off.
Timlin does not expect a drop in intensity, however. He said: “It does not change our intentions, football is a game.
“Our job is winning. We intend to do our job, we’re not seeking comfort. We’re not grading ourselves on a curve, the standard that is the Pittsburgh Steelers will be the standard.”
Cleveland (10-5) can also clinch a play-off berth with a win at FirstEnergy Stadium.