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Roethlisberger Says He Was Open To Shutting Kenny Pickett Down If Steelers Lost Sunday

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a bounce-back win against the Carolina Panthers, which kept their very faint playoff hopes alive. While extraordinarily unlikely that everything breaks the way that they need, the reality is that they still have something to play for at the moment.

But what if they lost to Carolina? What decision do you make about rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett then, coming off of a concussion? Former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on his Footbahlin podcast that he weighed the possibility of the team sitting him for the rest of the season.

“At one point, if they lost this Carolina game, I thought they should shut him down for the year,” he said. “Just, he got his work in—I know there’s something to be said about getting as many reps as you can, but there’s also something to be said about trying to knock those cobwebs off”.

Roethlisberger, like pretty much anybody who’s played in the NFL long enough, has had a concussion history. He’s missed games because of it. For Pickett, this was his second this season. “I always ask the question, did the second one come because of the first one? Or was it just completely random?” the future Hall of Famer said.

“At some point, if you’re the franchise and you’re not gonna make it, you’re not going anywhere, it might be smart to shut him down to just preserve him for next year if he’s your guy of the future,” he added, “which obviously he is because they’re building around him. Maybe it’s smart to do that.”

It’s a conversation to have, however, and Roethlisberger had that internally. He said for his own part that he would never have wanted to sit if he felt like he could play and ultimately seemed to reason that experience was the better draw rather than risk aversion.

“That’s kind of, ‘Okay, give him the reps, get him used to playing’, because the last two games are against two divisional opponents that you want to have some experience playing against,” he said, yet seemed to trail off into a hesitant rebuttal before being interrupted.

Head coach Mike Tomlin announced yesterday that Pickett was due to clear the concussion protocol and would have been a full participant in practice had they held one. He is expected to retake his spot in the starting lineup on Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Steelers play the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens in the final two weeks of the season. They have already lost to both, though the rookie did not play against either one for any appreciable length of time.

A backup for the first meeting against the Browns, Pickett suffered his second concussion two weeks ago on the fifth play of the game against the Ravens. He played three more snaps before being ruled out for the rest of the game.

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