Even through Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wide receiver Eli Rogers dressed for the team’s Week 7 home game against the New England Patriots, the former undrafted free agent out of Louisville failed to play a single snap. A few days after the game was over, it was reported that Rogers presumable benching came as a result of him being late for a team walkthrough.
During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if Rogers not playing against the Patriots was related to any kind of off-the-field issue.
“It was not,” said Tomlin
Tomlin was also asked Tuesday if Rogers is healthy back in good standing with the team and if he’ll resume his role as the starting slot wide receiver moving forward.
“He’s healthy and he’s continuing to work his way back from that foot injury and provide detail in his game, and obviously, he’s a guy that’s up for significant consideration in terms of participating in packages offensively, yes,” said Tomlin.
It’s funny, but not surprising, that Tomlin refused to acknowledge the reports that Rogers was in his dog house ahead of the game against the Patriots. With that said, the Steelers offense probably could have used Rogers in that game against the Patriots and especially since Markus Wheaton was inactive with a shoulder injury and Sammie Coates was extremely limited with his broken left index finger.
With Rogers effectively benched and the Steelers short on fully healthy wide receivers, the recently promoted Cobi Hamilton was forced to play a large amount of offensive snaps against the Patriots. Later in the game, wide receiver Antonio Brown was limited with a hip injury that occurred in the third quarter and while he did play sporadically from that point forward, it left Hamilton and veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey as the team’s two primary wide receivers for much of the fourth quarter.
It will be interesting to see just how much Rogers ultimately plays Sunday in the team’s road game against the Baltimore Ravens as Wheaton is expected to make his return to the field now that he’s presumably healthy. So far this season, Rogers has registered 13 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown in the three-and-a-half games that he’s played in. He missed two games due to a turf toe injury that he suffered during the team’s Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles but did return to play some in the Week 6 loss to the Miami Dolphins.