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Roethlisberger eager

QB wants to play Sunday vs. Browns

Steeler Ben Roethlisberger reports that his sprained left ankle is “a little sore.’’ Steeler Ben Roethlisberger reports that his sprained left ankle is “a little sore.’’ (JARED WICKERHAM/Getty Images)
Associated Press / December 30, 2011
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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t want his sprained left ankle to keep him out of Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Browns.

“As long as I can deal with pain, I’ll be out there,’’ Roethlisberger said yesterday. “I don’t want to let the guys down, so I’ll do what I can to be out there.’’

Roethlisberger, who sat out last week’s win over the Rams, fully participated in practice again. He said the ankle, sprained Dec. 8 in Pittsburgh’s last meeting with the Browns, was “a little sore.’’ Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said he was “much more’’ confident in Roethlisberger’s ability to play Sunday after watching his mobility improve in yesterday’s practice.

Roethlisberger will play if he’s healthy, Arians said.

“I want him out there but not at the risk of injuring himself,’’ Arians said. “If he can’t move around and get out of the way, there’s no sense in getting him out there.’’

There’s plenty at stake against the Browns as the Steelers (11-4) remain in the hunt for the AFC North championship. To win it, they need a win vs. Cleveland and for the Ravens to lose to the Bengals.

If Roethlisberger can’t play, 37-year-old Charlie Batch, who threw for 208 yards last week, is available.

Tomlinson done?

LaDainian Tomlinson acknowledged that Sunday’s game against the Dolphins could be the last of his career if the Jets don’t make the playoffs.

“It just depends on the situation,’’ he said. “I would love to keep playing, but if the situation is not right, then I won’t. And this possibly could be my last game.’’

Tomlinson signed a two-year deal with the Jets in 2010 after nine record-breaking seasons with the Chargers. When asked if he would hypothetically accept the veterans’ minimum salary to return to the Jets, Tomlinson smiled and made it clear he would want more.

“I’ve got kids, man,’’ the 32-year-old said with a laugh. “I mean, I don’t know. It would be hard for me to do that. It’s never been about the money for me. It really hasn’t. But at some point, you have to close that chapter if it just doesn’t line up. So I’m just going to wait and see what happens.’’

Romo improving

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo insists he will be ready to play despite a swollen throwing hand Sunday against the Giants.

“Everything’s coming together like we thought, just each day it’s getting a little bit better,’’ Romo said. “We’ll be good to go.’’

Romo wore a protective wrap on the hand he banged on a defender’s helmet on the opening series last Saturday. The wrap leaves his fingers and thumb free. Romo, who played through a broken rib early this season, said he isn’t worried about whether he will feel normal on Sunday.

“I’m excited that we’re in this position and we have an opportunity to go and play in a big game like this,’’ he said. “This is when it gets fun. No matter what, you’re not going to sit one of these out.’’

McCoy ‘better’

Browns quarterback Colt McCoy said he’s “feeling better’’ and making progress from the concussion he sustained Dec. 8 from a helmet-to-helmet hit delivered by Steelers linebacker James Harrison. McCoy also praised Cleveland’s medical staff for its handling of his concussion despite the team not testing him for a head injury on the sideline and sending him back in the game after sitting out just two plays. “Our medical staff does an outstanding job and that should never be in question,’’ he said . . . Broncos safety Brian Dawkins watched practice for a second straight day because of a neck injury that has left him questionable for Sunday’s pivotal matchup against the Chiefs . . . Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will have surgery today to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee suffered last week against the Redskins . . . Hall of Famer Raymond Berry will carry the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the stage, delivering it to commissioner Roger Goodell to present to the winner at the Super Bowl.

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