Roethlisberger ready for start

Two months after his motorcycle crash, Steelers QB talks coach into using him

Pro football


August 11, 2006

Two months after his motorcycle accident, Ben Roethlisberger is ready to take his first hit in a football game.

Roethlisberger will start the Steelers' exhibition game against the host Arizona Cardinals tomorrow, two months to the day after he broke his jaw and nose and sustained other facial injuries in a serious accident in Pittsburgh.

Roethlisberger has been lobbying coach Bill Cowher to play since camp opened July 28, but Cowher had not confirmed until yesterday that the quarterback would start.

"I like the frame of mind he's in right now," Cowher said. "I'm not worried about Ben. It's more, I think, just ... making sure we're all on the same page and that we get back to where we need to be."

Roethlisberger will be replaced by backup Charlie Batch, likely before the end of the first quarter.

Dolphins -- Starting guard Seth McKinney underwent surgery to repair a neck disc and is expected to be sidelined two to three months. "He'll definitely be back this season," agent Ralph Cindrich said. If McKinney's out for three months, he would miss half the regular season, which starts Sept. 7. McKinney was sidelined in training camp when he experienced numbness. He had been expected to start at guard after starting 29 games at center the past two seasons. McKinney can begin working out next week and can start lifting weights in six weeks, Cindrich said.

Cowboys -- Bill Parcells says "there would be a pretty good chance" that Tony Romo will start at quarterback for the team in its preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow night. The move has nothing to do with starter Drew Bledsoe and everything to do with evaluating Romo, who is going into his fourth season without having thrown a pass in a regular-season game. Romo is entrenched at No. 2 behind Bledsoe, ahead of Drew Henson. The team has discussed signing Romo to a contract extension.

Broncos -- Courtney Brown, whose career has been hampered by injuries, will miss the entire exhibition season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome left knee. Recovery is expected to take three to four weeks. Coach Mike Shanahan said he expects Brown to be back in the lineup for the Broncos' Sept. 10 regular-season opener at St. Louis.

Titans -- Rookie running back LenDale White got into a brawl with safety Donnie Nickey at training camp. The rookie out of Southern California, who fell to the 45th pick in the draft overall in April, started clashing with the defense on a running play.

Browns -- Veteran center Bob Hallen, thrust into the starting lineup to replace injured Pro Bowler LeCharles Bentley, will announce his retirement today because of a back injury.

Panthers -- Safety Mike Minter will be away from the team indefinitely after the death of his mother yesterday morning.

Chiefs -- The team agreed to terms with quarterback Jeff Smoker to help make up for injuries at the position.

On the field

Eagles 20, Browns 7 -- Kellen Winslow, playing his first game in nearly two years, made two catches in Cleveland's preseason loss to host Philadelphia. Donovan McNabb looked sharp for the second straight game, and Jeff Garcia connected with Darnerien McCants on a 32-yard touchdown pass for the Eagles.

Rams 19, Colts 17 -- Visiting Indianapolis opened its preseason with a successful onside kick by Adam Vinatieri, and Peyton Manning quickly made the most of his brief appearance by throwing a touchdown pass.

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