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Steelers should play it safe with Roethlisberger

I don't believe for a minute that Ben Roethlisberger is healthy enough to play against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Could he hobble around and throw the ball? Yep.

Is it worth the risk? Nope.

The Steelers should know around kickoff if their game against the Browns has any meaning. If the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens, then a Steelers' win gives them the AFC North title. If the Ravens win -- and I think they will -- then the Steelers' game is meaningless.

Roethlisberger should sit either way.

The Steelers shouldn't risk further injury to Big Ben.

I understand his desire to play.

But the Steelers need to understand the need to keep him healthy. Do you think the Browns would like a shot at injuring him as payback for Colt McCoy's concussion? I do.

Any playoff run needs Roethlisberger to be as close to 100 percent as possible.

I don't see how letting him play gets him closer to that goal.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…