Ben Roethlisberger has shoulder sprain, return date uncertain

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers left Heinz Field on Monday night with his sprained right shoulder in a sling. When he walks back in ready to play is anybody's guess.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin called Pittsburgh's franchise quarterback questionable but otherwise offered little detail Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Roethlisberger was pounded into the ground by Kansas City Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in the third quarter of Pittsburgh's 16-13 overtime victory.

"He is being evaluated," Tomlin said. "Obviously, this injury puts his participation in the questionable category for this week."

Roethlisberger left the game and went to a hospital for an MRI exam. He underwent more tests on Tuesday to determine the severity of the sprain to the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his throwing shoulder.

The SC joint connects the collarbone to the sternum. Treatment can range from a few days of rest and ice to as much as four to six weeks, said Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

"You could tape it, you could do that stuff, but the reality is those ligaments just have to heal," Khabie said. "If you go throwing, you slow down the healing process."

If Roethlisberger can't play, the Steelers (6-3) will turn to veteran backup Byron Leftwich, who completed seven of 14 passes for 73 yards in relief as Pittsburgh won its fourth straight game thanks to Shaun Suisham's 23-yard field goal 51 seconds into the extra period.

The 32-year-old Leftwich hasn't started a game since 2009, when he was 0-3 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His last victory came on Oct. 8, 2006, when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the New York Jets, 41-0.

Roethlisberger isn't the only big name who could be out on Sunday. Safety Troy Polamalu continues to be plagued by a right calf injury and Tomlin described him as doubtful to play against the Ravens. Safety Ryan Clark sustained a concussion for the second time in three games when he took a knee to the head from Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, though Tomlin said it appears Clark is fine.

Vikings' plan to sell seat licenses is criticized

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton criticized the Minnesota Vikings for considering extra fees on season-ticket holders as a way to help cover the team's share of a new $975-million stadium, but the team's owners said that option was a key part of the stadium deal.

The Democratic governor and Vikings management were allies during the long path to approving plans for a publicly subsidized stadium that were approved by lawmakers this year. But in a letter to team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, Dayton said he strongly opposed "shifting any part of the team's responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans."

But the Vikings aren't backing down. The team responded to Dayton's letter with a statement saying permission to sell so-called stadium builder's licenses was a "key component" of legislation that was "vetted by the Legislature, testified to by Vikings and state of Minnesota negotiators" and signed by the governor.

Many NFL teams that built stadiums in recent years have relied on such fees, also called personal seat licenses, that are usually a one-time charge on top of the cost of a season ticket.

Jets waive Aaron Maybin

Linebacker Aaron Maybin has been waived by the New York Jets, a season after he led the team with six sacks.

Maybin was unproductive this year, registering only one tackle without any sacks on a team desperate for a pass rushing presence. He was inactive for the Jets' game at Seattle on Sunday.

The disappointing 2009 first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills was signed by New York last season and revived his career. He was expected to have a larger role this season as an edge pass rusher but failed to make an impact.

The Jets also put defensive back Isaiah Trufant on injured reserve Monday after he injured a knee against the Seahawks. He was New York's nickel back and also a top performer on special teams.


With Jay Cutler's status for this week uncertain, the Chicago Bears signed veteran backup quarterback Josh McCown. Cutler sat out the second half of Sunday's loss to Houston because of a concussion. Jason Campbell took over and is expected to start Monday at San Francisco if Cutler can't go. But the Bears needed a backup.

McCown appeared in three games with Chicago last season and made two starts, completing 35 of 55 passes for 414 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Bears also waived tight end Brody Eldridge. ...

The Denver Broncos waived safety Duke Ihenacho, opening a roster spot that could be filled by linebacker D.J. Williams.

Williams was reinstated Monday after sitting out the first nine games of the season while serving two NFL suspensions. He'll practice Wednesday for the first time since training camp, where he was relegated to individual drills and backup duty while the Broncos prepared his replacements for the regular season. ...

Tampa Bay linebacker Quincy Black will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his neck making a tackle.

The Buccaneers have said that they expect Black to recover from a collision with San Diego's Ryan Mathews but that the sixth-year pro is experiencing some complications with his left arm. ...

The New England Patriots signed guard Mitch Petrus to shore up their battered offensive line.

Petrus, released Nov. 3 after playing six games this season with the New York Giants, signed Tuesday after New England's starting guards left Sunday's 37-31 win over the Buffalo Bills because of injuries. Logan Mankins hurt his left ankle and Dan Connolly injured his back.

The Giants drafted Petrus in the fifth round from Arkansas in 2010. He played 23 games for them, starting three. ...

The Atlanta Falcons put tight end Tommy Gallarda on injured reserve Tuesday and signed wide receiver Tim Toone and tight end Chase Coffman to their active roster.

The team also signed tight end Andrew Szczerba to the practice squad.

The moves came a day after Atlanta released defensive end Ray Edwards.

Gallarda, a strong blocker, was a backup in all nine games this season. He hurt his shoulder in Sunday's loss in New Orleans.

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