There were two pieces of good news yesterday in an otherwise dreary day after for the Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger will return to start at quarterback Sunday, and the team hits the friendly confines of a road game.
Roethlisberger missed the loss Sunday with a knee injury, but sources indicate he will start in Cincinnati for an early AFC North Division showdown between the surprising first-place Bengals (5-1) and the defending division champion Steelers (3-2).
It will be the first time since Nov. 18, 1990, that both teams have a winning record when they meet.
The Steelers actually may welcome another business trip. They have won their past nine away games, tying a team record set November 1974 to November 1975. Their bungling loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 23-17, in overtime, was their third in their past four home games at Heinz Field. They were unbeaten in the 2004 regular season at home.
Roethlisberger wanted to play Sunday and lobbied coach Bill Cowher to let him do so. He lost that argument because Cowher did not want to endanger his young quarterback, whose left knee was hyperextended Oct. 10 in San Diego.
He will start the next game, though, and Sunday's starter, Tommy Maddox, may not be No. 2 behind him. Maddox's shoulder was hurt in the game Sunday and he could be the emergency No. 3 quarterback in Cincinnati. If so, Charlie Batch would become the No. 2 quarterback.
Either way, his teammates welcomed the news that Roethlisberger will be back.
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