Tomlin waited until painkillers kicked in to reinsert Roethlisberger
Jason O. Watson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged the brewing controversy over his handling of Ben Roethlisberger late in Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders, providing more details Tuesday.

Roethlisberger left Sunday's game at halftime with a rib injury and returned to the contest with five minutes left.

Tomlin said the quarterback suffered multiple rib contusions and was held out for much of the second half because the Steelers were waiting for a painkilling treatment to take effect.

Due to this, the Steelers only intended to play Roethlisberger in an emergency situation.

Tomlin had initially indicated that Roethlisberger could have returned earlier.

"I'm not a comfort seeker ... so I said little after the game," Tomlin responded when asked why he didn't fully address the situation Sunday, according to Chris Adamski of the Tribune-Review. "... But obviously this thing has had legs and we are trying to minimize the distraction."

Tomlin anticipates Roethlisberger will be healthy enough to play in Sunday's marquee battle with the New England Patriots, according to Missi Matthews of the team's official website. Ailing running back James Conner has yet to be ruled out.

Tomlin waited until painkillers kicked in to reinsert Roethlisberger
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