Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on his radio show Tuesday he's dealing with torn ligaments and a sprain in his right shoulder, though Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said the team remains hopeful Roethlisberger will be ready for Sunday's playoff game at Denver.
"Ben has a chance," Tomlin said. "We'll manage him day to day."
Roethlisberger's shoulder was driven into the turf in Cincinnati by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict late in the third quarter of the Steelers' wild-card win Saturday. The two-time Super Bowl champion described the pain as a "grind or a crunch or something" during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan.
There were no plans to send him back in until Cincinnati rallied to take the lead. When Pittsburgh earned one last chance after a fumble recovery, Roethlisberger ambled back onto the field. His arm throbbing and unable to get the ball down the field with any sort of velocity, Roethlisberger — with more than a little help from the Bengals in the form of penalties — managed to lead the Steelers on a drive that set up Chris Boswell's winning field goal.
Roethlisberger remains in fairly serious pain while All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown remains in the NFL's concussion protocol after a hit by Burfict that drew a penalty, and starting running back DeAngelo Williams remains a longshot to return from a right foot injury.
Landry Jones will get the majority of snaps in practice early in the week as Pittsburgh prepares for a rematch with the Broncos, whom the Steelers beat 34-27 on Dec. 20 behind the spectacular play of Brown.
"We're hopeful, we're always hopeful," Tomlin said of Brown. "We'll do what's right when all is said and done."
Williams appears likely to miss his second straight game after injuring his right foot in the regular season finale against Cleveland. Tomlin said he will "leave the door ajar" for him, but it seems Pittsburgh will go with the tandem of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman.
Two Cardinals out
Arizona declared two defensive starters, outside linebacker Alex Okafor and defensive tackle Cory Redding, out for the playoffs.
The loss of Okafor was a surprise and a bit of a mystery. He was placed on the non-football injury list because of a toe injury suffered over the weekend. Coach Bruce Arians, clearly unhappy about the development, said when asked what had happened, "You've got to talk to Alex." But Okafor was not in the locker room when reporters were allowed in after practice. Redding was placed on season-ending injured reserve with an ankle injury he aggravated it in the regular-season finale against Seattle.
49ers interview Coughlin
Former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin interviewed with San Francisco about its head coaching vacancy, Associated Press reported, citing a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team isn't making public its interviews or candidates. The two-time Super Bowl-winning coach met with 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke at an unspecified location on the East Coast.