The door is 'slightly ajar' for Ben Roethlisberger to play against the Cleveland Browns, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.
The two-time Super Bowl champion's season has been blighted by injury, with his latest setback being the sprained foot he suffered in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders last weekend.
However, Tomlin did not completely rule out Roethlisberger – missing what would be his fifth game of the regular season – but are planning the game with back-up starter Landry Jones
"It's proven we anticipate playing without [Roethlisberger]," Tomlin said. "We will let him go through his process."
On his weekly radio show, Roethlisberger opened up on his current condition and seemed to suggest the visit of the Browns may come too soon.
"I can walk on it," Roethlisberger said. "I'm not running around or anything. But the smart thing to do, from what the [doctor] has told me and the trainers, is to kinda keep ice on it and get the swelling out of it and just kind of rest it, let it heal."
With Jones set to start, Tomlin has challenged his second-string QB to make the step up and lead the Steelers to their sixth victory of the season.
"I want him to do what's required of us to win," Tomlin added. "When you make it that black-and-white, it makes no bones about what's expected, allows him to have a crystal-clear focus and how he needs to remain in spite of things that may or may not occur."