PITTSBURGH — J.C. Hassenauer earned his first start of the 2021 season at center on Monday, as the Steelers didn’t want to push rookie Kendrick Green through injury.
Green, who suffered a calf injury against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16, missed two practices and was limited in a third in the week leading up to the team’s game against the Browns, leading head coach Mike Tomlin to go with the more veteran Hassenauer.
“He’s a young guy that was banged up that didn’t have an opportunity to work a lot during the course of the work week, and so we did what we thought was prudent,” he said.
The Steelers responded with their best running game of the season. Najee Harris set a career high with 188 yards rushing, though much of that was after contact.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger credited Hassenauer’s play in filling in. Tomlin said he’d wait to take a look at the tape to see how Hassenauer played.
“We’ll take a look at the tape in terms of evaluation component of it,” he said.