It’s looking more and more like Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron will start Saturday night’s AFC wild-card game against the Steelers in Cincinnati.
#Bengals QB Andy Dalton got his cast off. Big step. Still has to strengthen his hand and, well, throw. Cincy is moving ahead with McCarron
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 5, 2016
If McCarron does start, he’ll once again be going up against the quarterback who gave him a wristband 12 years ago.
A 13-year-old McCarron met Ben Roethlisberger after the future Steelers quarterback led Miami of Ohio to a win over Louisville in the GMAC Bowl in McCarron’s hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
Roethlisberger was taken 11th overall by the Steelers a few months later in the 2004 NFL draft. McCarron eventually quarterbacked Alabama to two national championships and finished second in the 2013 Heisman voting.
When he received his souvenir from Roethlisberger, according to ESPN.com, McCarron realized that it had potential value. However, he said he doesn’t know where it is now.
Now McCarron will try to prevent Roethlisberger from receiving another valuable object: A third Super Bowl ring.
McCarron completed 22 of 32 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions after replacing Andy Dalton in the second quarter of the Bengals’ Week 14 loss to the Steelers in Cincinnati.
In this case, he’ll have more time to prepare.
As long as McCarron doesn’t look at the Steelers defense with the same awe that he looked at Roethlisberger on the night he met him, he has a chance to lead the Bengals to their first playoff victory in 25 years.