PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger is back.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback will be activated for the team’s 53-man roster after passing the NFL’s required COVID-19 protocols, the Steelers announced Saturday morning.
Roethlisberger will fly to Los Angeles separately from the team charter on Saturday afternoon with the expectation that he will start Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers, the team said.
Roethlisberger, who has been vaccinated, tested positive for the virus on Nov. 13 and needed two negative tests to get off the protocols.
A year ago, Roethlisberger missed a week of training as a risky close contact from a teammate who tested positive. He was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 on Saturday and threw for four touchdowns and 333 yards in a win against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Mike Tomlin said Tuesday the team would design a game plan around Mason Rudolph, who started for Roethlisberger against the Detroit Lions, and would go on as if he started the game on Sunday night, but said he would “keep a light on” for Roethlisberger.
“He has been injured and had a history of personal discomfort over the 15 years we have worked together,” Tomlin said. “He always answers that bell, so we definitely leave the light on for him.”
The 39-year-old quarterback was involved in meetings throughout the week, keeping up with the game plan through virtual meetings with quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan and offensive coordinator Matt Canada. He also checked in with teammates such as running back Najee Harris and center Kendrick Green, who on Friday said the quarterback told him he was “feeling better.”
“I spoke to him every day,” Canada said on Thursday. “Talk about the plan, talked about what we think. Obviously, he’s also been meeting Sully every day and going through the details of those things.
“He’s preparing like he’ll be there and ready to go. It’s almost exactly like last year. It’s just all Zoom meetings. We all need to practice. He’s very engaged, watches the training and knows what’s going on.”