ben roethlisberger-leveon bell-pittsburgh steelers-nfl inactives Oct 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) hands off to running back Le'Veon Bell (26) during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the last week of the NFL season, which means a couple tight playoff races… and a bunch of teams sitting their stars to preserve them for the playoffs or even next season.

With inactives flowing in from across the league Sunday afternoon, we decided to compile an All-Pro team consisting solely of players whose teams have decided to bench them for Week 17 for one reason or another. (Note: Players on IR do not count.)

Here’s what we came up with:


QB — Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
RB — Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
RB — Todd Gurley, Rams
WR — Antonio Brown, Steelers
WR — DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
TE — Travis Kelce, Chiefs
G — David DeCastro, Steelers
G — Trai Turner, Panthers
T — Andrew Whitworth, Rams
T — Terron Armstead, Saints
C — Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers

We owe much gratitude here to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who benched many of his best offensive players Sunday with his team  locked into the No. 2 seed in the AFC. This list would not be possible without Pittsburgh’s stars. The All-Inactive lineup also gets a big boost from Rams coach Sean McVay’s choice to sit NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley.

If you’re interested in building a second-team All-Inactive lineup, you can start with receivers Tyreek Hill, Jordy Nelson and running back Jay Ajayi.


DE — Cam Heyward, Steelers
DE — Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets
DT — Aaron Donald, Rams
DT — Johnathan Hankins, Colts
OLB — Mark Barron, Rams
OLB — Vontaze Burfict, Bengals
MLB — Alec Ogletree, Rams
CB — Marcus Peters, Chiefs
CB — Damarious Randall, Packers
S — Kurt Coleman, Panthers
S — Rodney McLeod, Panthers

The Rams contributed Gurley to our All-Inactive offense and loaded the All-Inactive defense with a trio of stars. Meanwhile, the Steelers benched Cam Heyward and his 12 sacks, while the Chiefs sat Pro Bowler Marcus Peters and his five interceptions. This is a damn good unit.

So what does all this mean? Have NFL teams gone too far with last-week benchings? Though it might be frustrating to turn on the Steelers game and miss Roethlisberger and Bell or check on the Rams and wonder where Gurley, Donald and Ogletree are, it’s tough to fault players and teams for grabbing some rest at the end of a long season. If teams have nothing to play for, they have no reason to expose their best players to potential injury.

That means if you want to watch these guys play, you’ll just have to wait another week or two.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.