The Post-Gazette, ESPN.com, the Tribune Review, and FOX Sports are all reporting that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not play Sunday night against Baltimore.
Roethlisberger sustained a concussion against Kansas City during over time. He was tested by the Steelers medical staff, passed those tests, said he felt fine, and practiced all week.
However, late in the week he began getting headaches, a lingering symptom of a concussion. Mike Tomlin had been very clear at his weekly press conference that he would not allow Roethlisberger to play if any signs of the concussion persisted.
Apparently they have.
Dennis Dixon to Get His First NFL Start
With Charlie Batch injured, third string quarterback Dennis Dixon will get his first NFL start. Going into M&T Stadium to face a hostile crowd, and an even more hostile defense featuring Ray Lewis, Terrell Sluggs, and Ed Reed is not an endearing prospect.
Dennis Dixon will get a baptism by fire.
A fifth round pick in the 2008 draft, Dixon has thrown a total of one pass in his NFL career, although Steelers coaches are impressed with his development.
Backing up Dixon will be former Pitt quarterback and CFLer Tyler Palko. Plako was signed to the Steelers practice squad this week, and will be activated. To make room for him the Steelers will waive 4th Wide Receiver Shaun McDonald.
The Steelers worked out two veteran quarterbacks as potential emergency QB's, including former first round pick Patrick Ramsey, earlier this week, but declined to sign either one.
Reports conflict as to whether Roethlisberger will suit up as the emergency third string quarterback, or will watch the game in street clothes on the sidelines.
Tomlin Make the Right Move
Although it could very easily end up costing the Steelers a playoff spot, Mike Tomlin is absolutely doing the right thing by sitting Ben.
The evidence of the long-term damage that concussions do to NFL players would be enough to give even a hardened soul like Vince Lombardi pause.
Ben's future to the Steelers, and more importantly, Ben's future as a person, is far too important to risk, regardless of the stakes in Sunday's game.