Ben Roethlisberger pronounced himself fit for the Steelers' first preseason game and said yesterday that coach Bill Cowher would have to ``hold me back" from playing nine days from now in Arizona.
It was a departure from Roethlisberger's comment following Sunday's camp-opening practice that his playing is ``always Coach's call."
The turning point for Roethlisberger was Wednesday night's practice at a high school stadium in downtown Latrobe. In front of a record crowd at Memorial Stadium, he looked like the Roethlisberger of old.
``Yeah, he's the same quarterback," said offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt after the impressive showing.
Cowher said his decision on the Aug. 12 starting quarterback won't be made until next week. Whisenhunt said if it were up to him, Roethlisberger, who suffered head injuries in a June 12 motorcycle accident, would start.
Jackson awaits return
Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren
said top wide receiver Darrell Jackson
likely will not play until the team's Aug. 26 exhibition game at San Diego. Jackson, who had a career-high 87 receptions in 2004, had surgery on his right knee Oct. 12 to repair torn cartilage. He missed 10 games but returned to catch 20 passes in three playoff games, including five for 50 yards in Seattle's Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh. But weeks after that game, Jackson had a second knee surgery. Holmgren also said that D.J. Hackett
, who had been getting Jackson's preseason practice plays with the first-team offense, will miss 2-3 weeks with a strained right hamstring . . . Arizona Cardinals right tackle Oliver Ross
has been diagnosed with a probable torn meniscus in his right knee and could be out for 2 1/2 months . . . Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens
missed practice because of a hamstring problem. ``I wouldn't say I'm injured, just a little sore," Owens said. ``We're just taking a precaution." . . . A charge of disorderly conduct against Pittsburgh Steelers rookie receiver Santonio Holmes
was dropped. Holmes, the team's first-round pick, was among hundreds of people arrested as part of a police crackdown on revelers who annually converge on Miami Beach during Memorial Day weekend . . . A New Jersey appeals court overturned a landmark $105 million verdict against Giants Stadium concessionaire Aramark that sold beer to a drunken football fan who later caused an auto accident, leaving a girl paralyzed. In January 2005, a Bergen County (N.J.) jury said Daniel Lanzaro
and Aramark should pay a total of $135 million in damages after Lanzaro's 1999 car crash left then-2-year-old Antonia Verni
paralyzed from the neck down.
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