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NFL roundup: Roethlisberger to play; Goodell scrutinizes kickoffs

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---Ben Roethlisberger will return to the field Sunday for the Pittsburgh Steelers after missing three weeks with injuries to his right shoulder and ribs, head coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday.

"He has been above the line in all areas," Tomlin told reporters. "Really, the only question we can't answer is taking a hit. Obviously that will be answered in the stadium on Sunday. I'm extremely comfortable with his ability to work the field both vertically and horizontally. He has great velocity on his ball. We're ready to go."

The Steelers went 1-2 while Roethlisberger was out, splitting with their AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens sandwiched around a loss to the Cleveland Browns. Backup quarterback Byron Leftwich started one game, and Charlie Batch started the other two.

---Kickoffs may be closer to becoming an extinct, according to a Time Magazine report.

In a cover story this week, Time revealed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Rich McKay, the head of the league's competition committee discussed a proposal that would eliminate kickoff after a touchdown or field goal.

"It's an off-the-wall idea, he told Time." It's different and makes you think differently. It did me."

Kickoffs were moved up five yards last season, while coverage teams were required to start within five yards of the ball, in an effort to make the play safer. The Elias Sports Bureau found that 43.5 percent of kickoffs led to touchbacks in 2010, a rise of nearly 30 percent from 2010.

Also, players suffered 40 percent fewer concussions on kickoffs in 2011, McKay told ESPN The Magazine.

---Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is sitting out at least a few games with a sore hamstring, but he took a hit in the wallet Wednesday.

Urlacher was fined $21,000 for his second horse-collar tackle in two weeks. The play in the Bears' 23-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks drew a penalty. Urlacher slung third-down back and kick returner Leon Washington, who was not injured on the play.

Urlacher was fined $15,750 for a horse-collar of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson the previous week, but he appealed and said that session "went real good."

The NFL notified Urlacher of both fines via FedEx letter. He plans to appeal the latest fine.

---The Ravens' defense is in flux as All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis returned to practice from a surgically repaired right triceps tendon.

Meanwhile, Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs insisted that he will return this season after tearing his right biceps with a second medical opinion confirming the original diagnosis.

Suggs already made it back from a partially torn right Achilles tendon that required surgery.

Now, he's dealing with another serious injury that endangers his playing status for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

Suggs got hurt making a tackle in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"The creed is, 'If you can breathe, then you can play,'" Suggs said. "We just got to check it out. We got to see how it holds up throughout the week. I'll definitely be a game-time decision on Sunday. My concern is, would I help or hinder the team by playing? I don't want to be out there and can't make a play because I'm unhealthy and I don't have a full biceps."

Suggs emphasized that he will definitely not shut it down and will continue to play this season.

---With place-kicker Mike Nugent's status for Sunday's game uncertain due to a calf injury, the Cincinnati Bengals signed 10th-year veteran Josh Brown.

Brown was brought in for a tryout this week along with Billy Cundiff and Neil Rackers. Brown has scored 962 career points over nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Cardinals, but lost out on a training camp battle with the New York Jets to Nick Folk and has not kicked in the NFL this season.

The Bengals also waived center Jeff Faine, a 10th-year player who started seven of the first eight games of the season. However, he has missed the past four games with a hamstring injury and Kyle Cook is set to return from the ankle injury he suffered in the third preseason game.

---The Kansas City Chiefs placed defensive lineman Allen Bailey on injured reserve, and signed linebacker Leon Williams to the 53-man roster, the team announced Thursday.

Bailey has played in 26 games in two seasons with the Chiefs. He was taken in the third round of the 2011 Draft.

Leon Williams also played with the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys, and spent 2012 training camp with the Chiefs.

---Safety Antonio Allen was signed by the New York Jets on Thursday from their practice squad and moved to the active roster, the team announced.

Also, the Jets signed cornerback Donnie Fletcher to their practice squad.

Allen, a South Carolina product, was a seventh-round pick by the Jets in the 2012 draft. He was signed to the practice squad after being cut prior to the season. Before Thursday's transaction, he has been signed to the roster, waived and re-signed to the practice squad. He has two tackles and a fumble recovery in three games this season.

Fletcher, who played at Boston College, was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent during the off-season. Since the season began, he has been signed to the practice squad three times and activated twice. He has played in two games this season.
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