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Steelers prepare for the potential return of two starters before the AFC Wild Card game

The Pittsburgh Steelers could see two very important players return to the field this Sunday at Heinz Field vs. the Browns.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns know each other well as AFC North division rivals, but when you throw in the fact the two teams will face off for two straight weeks, it brings an entirely new level of familiarity to the equation.

After the Browns’ 24-22 win over the Steelers in Week 17, it is a rematch, this time at Heinz Field, in the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs which is on deck. The Steelers will look drastically different compared to Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. The Steelers will have Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward back, after being given the week off to rest and prepare for the postseason.

But those aren’t the only players who are expected to be back for the Steelers in the playoffs. During Mike Tomlin’s Tuesday press conference, he spoke about two players who had been placed on Injured Reserve (IR) who could potentially return to the team prior to Sunday’s game.

Those two players would be inside linebacker Robert Spillane and offensive lineman Matt Feiler.

Spillane had been on IR with a knee injury, while Feiler had been placed on IR with a pectoral injury. The return of one, or both, of those players could help with depth at two positions of need heading into the postseason. When asked about the importance of depth at the inside linebacker position, Tomlin referred to not just depth on defense, but also having more big-bodied players on the Steelers’ kickoff units for special teams.

Both players will have to come off IR, and return to practice, before they can be a viable option to play in some capacity this Sunday night.

As for other injured players, Chris Boswell, who missed Week 17 with a groin injury, will have to prove he can work through a full week before he can be given the green light to return. In the meantime, Tomlin said he is extremely comfortable with Matthew Wright if Boswell is unable to play in the Wild Card game.

A lot of questions were asked about the players on the COVID-19/Reserve list, but Tomlin refused to speculate whether Joe Haden, Eric Ebron or Cassius Marsh would be available to them this weekend.

Other than those aforementioned players, Tomlin didn’t speak of any new injuries to the roster heading into the playoffs, which is exactly what you want to see/hear as the Steelers prepare for their first postseason game since 2017.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they host the Cleveland Browns Sunday night at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.


For more information on the Mike Tomlin press conference, check out the Press Conference Recap podcast below: