CINCINNATI — The Steelers had two notable players included in their inactive list ahead of Sunday’s season-opening game against the Bengals. Mason Rudolph won’t dress for Week 1, leaving Kenny Pickett as Pittsburgh’s only active quarterback behind starter Mitchell Trubisky. Also inactive for Sunday’s game is Kendrick Green, Pittsburgh’s starting center last season who this summer lost his position battle at left guard Kevin Dotson.
Rudolph spent the last three seasons as Ben Roethlisberger’s primary backup. He was briefly the front-runner to be Big Ben’s successor before the Steelers acquired Trubisky at the beginning of free agency. The Steelers then spent a first-round pick on Pickett, as Mike Tomlin presided over his first real quarterback position battle in his 16 years as the Steelers’ head coach.
Despite playing well in the preseason, Rudolph fell from second to third on the depth chart when the Steelers released their first regular-season depth chart. The Steelers opted not to trade Rudolph despite reported interest from other teams.
With Green out, the Steelers are light on guard depth for Sunday’s game. Backup center J.C. Hassenauer, who has made seven starts over the past two years, would be in line to replace either Dotson or Mason Cole.
Pittsburgh’s offense faces a formidable Cincinnati defense that allowed just 20 combined points in its two games against the Steelers last season. The unit features a strong defensive line that includes Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill and Sam Hubbard.