For his last game at Heinz Field, Ben Roethlisberger was assisted by a new center.
Rookie KendrickGreen did not play this season due to a calf injury. J.C. Hassenauer will take the place of Kendrick Green at the center for Monday's Steelers game against the Cleveland Browns.
Hassenauer was a center-forward three times in 2020. However, his only start this season came at guard at the Steelers' game at the Los Angeles Chargers. This season, he has been in 12 games.
Green was injured and unable to practice last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Even then, he only did so in a limited capacity. He was still in uniform on Monday.
Devin Bush, Joe Schobert and Marcus Allen were on the reserve/covid roster. Robert Spillane was the inside linebacker and Marcus Allen the outside linebacker. Allen was a rookie in the season and this was his first game. He had only played 17 defensive snaps during the year. Ulysees Gilbert III, who had played nine defensive snaps for the season, was the backup at the position, as well as Tegray Scales who was released from the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad.
Harris breaks record
Najee Harris was the second Steelers rookie to run back more than 1,000 yards in quarter one. He then broke Franco Harris’ rookie rushing record during the third quarter.
Harris started the game with 986 yards. Harris' season total jumped to 999 with an 8-yard run on the second series. He gained 6 yards on the next play to reach this milestone.
Franco Harris ran 1,055 yards his rookie season 1972. But Najee was faster on the Steelers' first drive of the second-half.
Najee Harris was already the franchise record holder for receiving yards and scrimmage yards by rookies (regardless if they are running backs) when he entered the game.
This is the 25th Steelers season with a 1,000-yard rusher. Harris is the 66th rookie to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in NFL history.
Waitman again punts
Corliss Waitman punted Monday for the second consecutive week. Waitman signed a day prior to last week's game after the death of Pressley Harvin III, a rookie punter. He averaged 60.5 yards per punt in his NFL debut against Chiefs.
Harvin was absent from all practices this week.
Waitman, a first-year Steelers player, was part of the Steelers practice squad last season as a rookie.
Rashaad Coward, a veteran guard, and Trey Edmunds, a special-teamer were promoted from the practice squad to the crucial game against the Browns. Officially, they were replaced by players on the covid roster.
To make it up for the absence of Allen and Bush, the defense was missing Chris Wormley and slot cornerback Arthur Maulet. Wormley was replaced by rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk a week later. Cameron Sutton, who had just made his first career start, moved inside to play nickel while Akello Witherspoon served as the No. Monday, 3rd cornerback
Due to covid, two Steelers reserves on offense -- tackle Zach Banner Jr. and running back Anthony McFarland Jr. - were also not in uniform against Browns.
Buddy Johnson, a rookie linebacker, was unable to play due to a foot injury. The Steelers' healthy scratches were No. Dwayne Hakins, 3 quarterback, and Isaiah Buggs, defensive tackle
The Browns were without Kareem Hunt (former NFL rushing champion), who was sidelined for the third time due to an ankle injury.
Other Cleveland inactives were cornerback Troy Hill and Kyle Lauletta, quarterback Kyle Lauletta, safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. safety John Johnson III safety Mack Wilson, guard Hjalte Foloholdt safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III safety John Johnson III linebacker Mack Wilson, Hjalte Froholdt Hjalte Fraholdt Hjalte