Roethlisberger has MRI; status uncertain

Byron Leftwich has already shown the Pittsburgh Steelers he can finish. He might get the chance Sunday to prove he can start.

With starter Ben Roethlisberger's status for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts uncertain because of his reinjured right shoulder, the Steelers (6-2) might give Leftwich his first start since last Nov. 18 with the Atlanta Falcons.


Roethlisberger underwent magnetic resonance imaging yesterday, but the Steelers did not immediately release the results. He reinjured his separated right shoulder on a quarterback sneak near the end of the second quarter Monday night.

Leftwich took over to set up a touchdown with a long completion on his first throw, passed for a score and led an additional touchdown drive during a 23-6 road win over the Washington Redskins.


Leftwich's line for a short but productive night's work: 7-for-10 for 129 yards and no interceptions.

The sore shoulder has bothered Roethlisberger, though he hasn't said how much, since he was hurt Sept. 7 against the Houston Texans. Unless the injury heals in a hurry during a shortened week of preparation, the Steelers might need Leftwich to bail them out again.

A former first-round draft pick and starter in Jacksonville, Leftwich spent last season with the Falcons after being cut by the Jaguars.

Ravens: : Ray Rice was nominated for the FedEx Ground Players of the Week Award. Fans can vote for Rice until Friday at 11 a.m. at Rice ran for 154 yards on 21 carries, including a 60-yard run that helped set up Matt Stover's go-ahead field goal, in Sunday's 37-27 victory over the Browns. If Rice wins, a $1,000 donation will go to the local Safe Kids coalition in Baltimore.

Bills: : Top pass rusher Aaron Schobel will miss at least two more weeks and could potentially be out for the rest of the season with a left foot injury. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end is to meet with a specialist in North Carolina today to have his foot examined, a person familiar with the injury told the Associated Press. There is concern that Schobel might have suffered a more serious injury in the mid-foot area where a cluster of bones forms a small arch between the ankle and toes, known as a Lisfranc injury. The Bills' pass rush has dwindled since Schobel was hurt. After recording 10 sacks in opening the season with four victories, Buffalo has managed just three in going 1-3 in its past four games.

Browns: : Coach Romeo Crennel made the switch to quarterback Brady Quinn to help the team, not to placate frustrated Cleveland fans. Crennel said former Raven Derek Anderson wasn't benched because of the backlash. The coach made the move Monday, one day after Anderson threw a costly interception in Cleveland's loss to the Ravens. "It's my decision," Crennel insisted. "I informed the organization what I was thinking; they told me it was my decision and they would back whatever decision I made.

Lions: : Daunte Culpepper passed his physical and signed with Detroit - and could be ready to play Sunday against the Jaguars. Culpepper, 31, who had announced his retirement in September after failing to find a team that fit his needs, signed a two-year deal with the 0-8 Lions.

Rams: : St. Louis placed wide receiver Drew Bennett (broken leg) and wide receiver-kick returner Dante Hall (high ankle sprain) on injured reserve, a day after coach Jim Haslett said both would be out for the season.


Porter-Marshall: : Joey Porter and Brandon Marshall just can't leave the trash talk on the field. Still steamed over the Miami linebacker calling him soft after the Dolphins' 26-17 win at Denver on Sunday, the Broncos' star wide receiver returned the insults. "Yeah, Joey Porter's one of them guys, when you got guys who talk a lot of trash, just want to talk about people or put people down, they have their own insecurities," Marshall said. "And his insecurities I don't know. But he's definitely one of those guys who all those muscles are popcorn muscles. He's soft." Porter, who leads the league with 11 1/2 sacks, helped hold Marshall to two late catches Sunday, then continued his jawing in the locker room afterward, suggesting Marshall pouted after not getting an early catch and allowed all the taunting to affect him mentally and knock him off his game.

NFL Network: : NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defends the league's policies for airing games on the NFL Network in a letter to Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican. Goodell is responding to a letter sent by Specter and 12 other senators last week. The sides have repeatedly sparred over whether games on the network should be available to more viewers on free TV.