Pittsburgh Steelers' team doctors believe quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could miss three weeks because of rib and shoulder injuries, ESPN.com reported Sunday.
Roethlisberger will not play Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens. The team hopes he can return by Dec. 2 for its rematch against the Ravens, therefore missing only two games. However, a source familiar with the situation told ESPN that it is not likely.
Roethlisberger has said his rib injury threatened his aorta, but a source said team doctors believe the surrounding arteries, vessels and soft tissue are more affected.
Since there is no treatment or procedure available to repair Roethlisberger's rare injury, it has to heal itself.
Roethlisberger was injured last Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Byron Leftwich will start in his place.
---Wide receiver Deion Branch was released by the New England Patriots.
Branch, the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 for the Patriots, was released before the start of this season but was re-signed after Week 2. However, he managed just nine receptions for 80 yards in seven games and has been battling a hamstring injury.
Defensive back Malcolm Williams was also released. Wide receiver Greg Salas and cornerback Aqib Talib were added to the 53-man roster.
---Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that running back Rashard Mendenhall would start Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens, according to the team's website.
Mendenhall has been out four games because of an Achilles injury.
Backups Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have been the primary ball carriers in Mendenhall's absence'
---Quarterback Michael Vick was officially inactive for Sunday's game with the concussion he suffered last week, and rookie Nick Foles will start for the Philadelphia Eagles.
---Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden was inactive for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys with an oblique injury.
He made the trip to Dallas, but was ruled out after pregame warmups. Haden sustained the injury during practice on Wednesday.
Sheldon Brown and Buster Skrine will start at cornerback for Cleveland.
---Hall of Fame tight end and former coach Mike Ditka was released from a hospital after having a minor stroke, ESPN announced Sunday.
Ditka, currently an analyst for ESPN, was hospitalized on Friday. Doctors told him he had "a very minor stroke."
He was at a country club outside Chicago playing cards when he noticed something was wrong with his fingers and he had trouble speaking.
Ditka, 73, told the Chicago Tribune that he hopes to return to work next week.
---Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams returned from a nine-game suspension last week and was officially added to the team's roster for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers.
He also restructured his contract that calls for a pay reduction.
Williams was suspended six games for violating the league's performance-enhancement drug policy and three additional games for a drunk driving offense.
Williams' $5 million base salary was reduced to $950,000, according to the Denver Post. He can also get a $100,000 bonus for each week he is on the team's game-day roster.
That means Williams can still earn up to $1.65 million if he is active in each of the Broncos' final seven games.
---The Atlanta Falcons waived defensive end Ray Edwards for insubordination, Fox Sports reported Sunday.
Atlanta reportedly cut Edwards for refusing to join a team gathering after last week's loss to the New Orleans Saints.
---Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain will not face jail time but could face NFL discipline after misdemeanor assault and firearms charges against him were dropped, ESPN.com reported Sunday.
McClain's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said an Alabama judge dismissed all charges against the former first-round draft pick.
McClain was arrested last year for allegedly holding a gun near a man's head and firing it into the air.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league will review the situation under the personal conduct policy.
---Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton was lifted in favor of Ryan Lindley in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The move was surprising considering the Cardinals led 13-3 at the time. However, Skelton struggled by going 2-for-7 passing for only six yards.
---Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert left in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans with a bruised right elbow and did not return.
Chad Henne replaced Gabbert.
---Atlanta Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel left in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals with a right shoulder injury.
---Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was carted off the field Sunday after suffering a concussion late in a 31-6 loss to the Washington Redskins.