The Pittsburgh Steelers are lacing up to take on the Cleveland Browns for Monday Night Football action. Mike Tomlin's team didn't fare well in their first matchup of the year against the 49ers and are hoping to bounce back from an embarrassing loss with a win tonight. Meanwhile, the Browns looked strong in their Week 1 win over the Bengals.
Although we are getting set to enter just the second game of the season, the Steelers won't be at full strength for this Monday Night Football matchup. In Week 1, Cameron Heyward exited the contest with what was later confirmed as a groin tear. This has required surgery, and Heyward will be out for up to eight weeks.
In addition to unfortunate news regarding Heyward, Pittsburgh will be without Diontae Johnson for up to four weeks as he nurses his way back to full health from a hamstring pull he suffered in the opener against the 49ers. Johnson went down in noticeable pain in the second half of the season-opener, and the Steelers won't want to rush him back to the field if he's not ready to go.
With some big injuries already occurring, which players will be suiting up for Monday Night Football tonight, and who will be watching from the sidelines in street clothes?
Steelers inactives list vs. Browns in Week 2:
- No. 2 QB Mason Rudolph (3rd QB)
- No. 25 CB Desmond King
- No. 60 OT Dylan Cook
- No. WR Dez Fitzpatrick
The Heyward and Johnson absences loom large, but they aren't the only players out tonight. Running back Anthony McFarland will also be holding a clipboard during tonight's game. McFarland popped up on Thursday's injury report after sustaining a knee injury. He was not able to practice all week leading up to the game and he has officially been ruled out for this contest.
McFarland wasn't expected to have a big role on offense, but it's worth noting that he was one of the only players (outside of T.J. Watt) who performed well in the season-opener against the 49ers. We don't know the extent of McFarland's knee issue at this time, but it was apparently bad enough that he couldn't log a limited practice at all this week.
While some players have already been ruled out due to injuries, others are officially inactive tonight. Veteran cornerback Desmond King apparently isn't ready to make his Steelers debut yet as he nurses his way back to health. Meanwhile, some speculated that WR Dez Fitzpatrick would be activated as Johnson is out, but despite getting the promotion to the roster, that won't be the case. He's inactive tonight against the Browns. Offensive tackle Dylan Cook is the other inactive, while Mason Rudolph is the emergency QB.
Larry Ogunjobi and Isaac Seumalo both missed practice on Friday but were full participants on Saturday -- making them good to go for tonight's contest. Chukwuma Okorafor -- who was in concussion protocol -- is also expected to play this week.
The Browns lost their starting right tackle for the season this past week when Jack Conklin went down with a knee injury against the Bengals. Outside of Conklin, they didn't have any players listed as out on the injury report and three players -- WR Amari Cooper, DT Siaki Ika, and DB Juan Thornhill -- were each listed as questionable. Cooper and Thornhill will suit up while Ika will watch from the sidelines.