Pittsburgh Steelers  


Big Ben practices, but will he miss any time? 'Not that I know,' he says

  • By Associated Press
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Ben Roethlisberger is back on his feet again. Both of them.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback practiced Tuesday for the first time since injuring his right foot during the team's final training-camp practice, and coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger will play in Saturday night's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

Ben Roethlisberger , QB
Pittsburgh Steelers

2008 Statistics
Passing Yards: 3,301
TD/INT: 17/15
Passer Rating: 80.1

"He won't be limited in any form or fashion," Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger didn't talk to reporters after Tuesday's practice. However, when NFL Network's Scott Hanson asked James Farrior if Roethlisberger would be OK, the Steelers' linebacker yelled to the quarterback several lockers down and asked, “You missing anything? Missing any time … practices, games?” Replied Roethlisberger: “Not that I know of.”

The Steelers' starters are expected to play about a half against the Bills, their most extensive playing time before the Sept. 10 season opener against the Tennessee Titans.

Roethlisberger sat out last Saturday's preseason game against the Washington Redskins, two days after left tackle Max Starks accidentally stepped on the quarterback's right foot just minutes before the Steelers ended training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.

During practice Tuesday at the team's training complex in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger participated in individual drills, including the 7-on-7 passing drills, but didn't take any snaps with the entire offense on the field until late in the workout. He appeared to practice without any significant discomfort, although he still has a slight limp.

A bag of ice was strapped onto the back of Roethlisberger's right foot minutes before practice ended, just as it was after he was hurt last week.

"We like where he is," Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger hasn't missed a game since being held out of a meaningless final regular-season game in 2007, when the Steelers knew they would have a playoff game the following weekend.

The Steelers will be without second-year quarterback Dennis Dixon (separated right shoulder) against the Bills and possibly for the Sept. 3 preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. Dixon was hurt during the Redskins game, which means more snaps for backup Charlie Batch.

"I'll characterize him (Dixon) as out for this week, but that's all I'm willing to characterize him at this point," Tomlin said. "I'm going to be optimistic."

Dixon was pushing Batch for the backup job but might be out of the running for that now because of the injury. At this time a year ago, Batch already was done for the season because of a broken collarbone, so he is enjoying playing in the preseason more than usual.

"It's good to be out there again," said Batch, a 12-year veteran.

The only other quarterback in camp is undrafted free agent Mike Reilly. In limited preseason action, he has gone 2 of 5 for 17 yards and been sacked once, but the Steelers don't plan to sign any other quarterback before the season starts.

Notes: Backup TE Sean McHugh, who essentially serves as the fullback on some running plays, will have arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday in what Tomlin calls a "clean-up procedure." McHugh is expected to miss the rest of the preseason. ... Count CB William Gay among those who is glad to be back at Steelers headquarters following nearly three weeks at Saint Vincent. "You get tired of just seeing the dorms and the (practice) fields," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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