However, with the Steelers already having locked up the AFC North, they could choose to rest starters, which would likely include 38-year-old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. If Roethlisberger was to sit, Mason Rudolph would draw the start for the Steelers, setting up quite the storyline for the Browns and Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett.
Few have forgotten the helmet-bashing incident between Garrett and Rudolph last season that resulted in the Browns star being suspended for the final six games of the season and fined a significant amount of money. But Garrett has managed to rehab his image this season, even being named the Browns’ Walter Payton Man of the Year for his dedication to helping the community.
On the field, Garrett has let his play do the talking, collecting 12 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He’s also forced four fumbles and has 44 tackles.
Browns Focus ‘Strictly About Winning’ Against Steelers
Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was asked about the matchup with Rudolph under center for the Steelers but said that additional element would not alter the game plan.
“The only element right now as far as the game is concerned is we win and we are in. That is it. We are trying to keep it strictly about winning,” Ogunjobi told reporters. “Whatever is done is done. I understand the emotions and all of that kind of stuff, but I feel like Myles’ maturity level and the team’s maturity level as a whole is that we understand that this is bigger than one incident and bigger than one situation. Right now, it is about doing something that has not been done in a very long time, and it is about playing for each and every one of us, our brothers, and finding a way to win. That is the most important thing. That is my take on it.”
#Browns DT Larry Ogunjobi on if QB Mason Rudolph starts for #Steelers, given last year's helmet-swing incident: The only element right now is if we win, we're in. I understand emotions, but Myles Garrett's maturity level, the team's maturity level, this is about something bigger
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) December 28, 2020
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski did not want to entertain the idea that the Steelers would be resting their stars.
“I am going to really concern myself with the Cleveland Browns, and we will get into our preparation for Pittsburgh in the next couple of days,” Stefanski said.
Browns Expected to Have Wide Receivers Back on Thursday
The Browns played without their top four wide receivers against the Jets in a crushing loss last week, but the team could welcome them back as soon as Thursday if they continue to return negative test. Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge were all dubbed high-risk close contacts of linebacker BJ Goodson, who tested position for COVID-19.
“I think Thursday is the day, provided they all continue to test negative,” Stefanski told reporters on Monday.
Stefanski says the #browns are hoping to get their WRs back in practice on Thursday, provided they continue to test negative for COVID-19 this week
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 28, 2020
The Browns have not used the situation as an excuse and Stefanski said the regulations in place will be a point of emphasis going forward.
“I am not going get into specifics, but it is something that I definitely have addressed with the team and addressed with those players, and we absolutely have to learn from this,” Stefanski said.