The Pittsburgh Steelers are appealing the NFL's $75,000 fine for "not accurately listing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on their injury report before their Week 2 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Per that report, the Steelers didn't disclose that Roethlisberger had an injured elbow, instead listing him as "not injury related." But Roethlisberger left that game early with the injury and had surgery the following week that is expected to cost him the remainder of the 2019 campaign.
The Steelers are contending that the fine is unfair.
It's been a strange season in Pittsburgh. When Roethlisberger was lost for the year, the team was already 0-2, and lost its next game to the San Francisco 49ers. The team then won five of its next six games before Thursday's 21-7 loss, a game marred by a fight between the Steelers and Cleveland Browns that included Myles Garrett ripping Mason Rudolph's helmet off his head and hitting him with it.
Garrett has been suspended indefinitely for his actions and, barring appeal, will miss at least the remainder of the 2019 season and postseason. Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi also was suspended a game for his involvement in the fight, while Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games for punching Garrett and kicking him in the head as he came to the defense of his quarterback.
As for Rudolph, he hasn't been suspended but is expected to be fined.
Suffice to say, the Steelers are going to be having a lot of communication with the league office this week.
Rudolph, 24, has had an up-and-down year as Roethlisberger's replacement, throwing for 1,551 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 62.3 percent of his passes. His QBR (35.2) ranks just 31st amongst quarterbacks, while his quarterback rating (82.9) is 25th.
Not exactly the audition Rudolph may have been hoping for in his quest to be Roethlisberger's eventual successor. But if he can get Pittsburgh into the postseason—the Steelers are currently trailing the Buffalo Bills (7-3), Houston Texans (6-4) and Oakland Raiders (6-4) in the Wild Card race—his mediocre stats to this point will be forgiven.