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Steelers Rule 0ut Antonio Brown, but Play Conner

Vincent Rey (left) made his third start of the season and 51st of his career Sunday.
Vincent Rey (left) made his third start of the season and 51st of his career Sunday.

PITTSBURGH - Vincent Rey, the undrafted free agent from the class of 2010 who has gone on to be one of the more versatile linebackers in Bengals history, was scheduled to make his 51st career start in the ravaged linebacker corps for Sunday's finale against the Steelers.

The Steelers announced before the game that wide receiver Antonio Brown won't play with Pittsburgh needing to beat the Bengals and a Baltimore loss against Cleveland to make the playoffs. But running back James Conner was back after missing three games with an ankle injury.

Rey drew the start in place of the injured Jordan Evans at WILL while Hardy Nickerson again took the place of Vontaze Burfict in the middle with Burfict sidelined for the ninth time this season and second time for a concussion.

Whether it is Rey's last appearance as a Bengal is anyone's guess, but that just about sums up the questionable status of so many players on a team that is 6-9 after losing six of its last seven games. Rey has played every backer spot during a career that also included several stints as a special teams captain.

Joining Burfict on the injured inactive list was back-up cornerback Tony McRae (hamstring). The other five inactive players were healthy scratches, three called up from the practice squad: tackle Kent Perkins, running back Quinton Flowers and wide receiver Hunter Sharp. Tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, the 2014 first-round pick, probably ended his Bengals career with his 14 deactivation of the season. Also sitting was rookie tight end Jordan Franks.

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