Steelers' Roethlisberger to sit out NFL regular season finale

Los Angeles (AFP) –


The Pittsburgh Steelers, assured of an NFL playoff berth with the AFC North division title, will rest veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the regular-season finale against the Browns in Cleveland.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Mason Rudolph would get the start.

"It does not change our intentions, in terms of going to Cleveland this weekend," Tomlin said in comments posted on the team's website.

"Football is our game. Our job is winning. We intend to do our job. We intend to prepare with that mindset. And ultimately lead us to that destination. We're not seeking comfort. We're not grading ourselves on a curve."

The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs have already locked up the top seed and only first-round bye in the AFC.

The Buffalo Bills can clinch the second seed with a victory over Miami or a loss by the Steelers, who will enter the playoffs at no worse than the No. 3 seed.

Given that scenario, Tomlin said, he planned to "airmail a player or two to the post-season," although he didn't say which other starters, besides Roethlisberger, might not start against the Browns.

The Browns go into the contest fighting for their playoff lives. They must win to have a chance to advance.