Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder injury is significant, and could force him to miss extended period, according to an ESPN.com report, citing a source close to the team.
Roethlisberger went down hard on a sack by the Kansas City Chiefs' Justin Houston, on Pittsburgh's first possession of the third quarter, and didn't return. He had an MRI on his right shoulder at a hospital. A second on is scheduled for Tuesday.
Early reports said Roethlisberger suffered a sprain, but a source told ESPN.com that doctors wanted further tests. A complete analysis won't be available until later Tuesday.
The injury couldn't have come at a worse time. The Steelers face their chief rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, twice in the next three weeks.
Byron Leftwich relieved Roethlisberger and went 7-of-14 for 73 yards. The Steelers beat Kansas City, 16-13, in overtime for their fourth straight win.
---The Pittsburgh Steelers won their fourth straight game Sunday but find themselves in a bad spot.
The Baltimore Ravens come to Heinz Field for a Sunday night game with a one-game lead in the AFC North over the Steelers, who likely will play without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger has a sprained right shoulder from an early third-quarter sack.
"That's all the information I have at this point," coach Mike Tomlin said, calling the injury an SC joint sprain.
"Whatever that is. I coach football," Tomlin said.
While it's not known how long he will be out, Roethlisberger almost surely will miss the game vs. Baltimore.
The sternoclavicular joint is the front of the shoulder where the clavicle meets the shoulder. The sprain indicates ligament damage. The injury is the same one that ended Brett Favre's consecutive starts streak at 297 in 2010. Recovery time varies greatly depending on the degree of the sprain and could be a three week or three month injury.
---Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was cleared Tuesday on charges of resisting arrest.
Peterson's Houston-based lawyer, Rusty Hardin of Rusty Hardin & Associated, LLP -- the same lawyer who defended Roger Clemens -- said the grand jury found no probable cause and that an official motion to dismiss the charges will be filed Wednesday.
"That's just a technicality to get it off the docket," Hardin told NFL.com. "It's over."
Peterson was charged by Houston police with resisting arrest after an early morning incident outside a club in July. An officer charged that Peterson "assumed an aggressive stance" and refused to leave the premises, an account Peterson refuted.
"We always said he didn't act out, he didn't push the officer," Hardin said. "They had six officers working that night; two acted out of line. We thought when a group of citizens heard it all, we were confident he'd be found not guilty."
---San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith plans to seek a second opinion for his concussion, according to ProFootballTalk.com.
Smith suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The 49ers are off until they face the Chicago Bears next Monday night.
Before he can be cleared to play, he must be given an OK from an independent neurologist. Even so, Smith is seeking an other opinion.
If Smith can't play, Colin Kaepernick will start for the 49ers.
---The Buffalo Bills are still seething over the way New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes acted after a hit on running back Fred Jackson late in Sunday's game. The blow to Jackson's head and neck resulted in a concussion.
Spikes flexed his arm and talked some trash to several Bills with Jackson down on the field. Spikes had hit Jackson in the helmet with his left forearm.
"Yeah, he'll get his," backup running back Tashard Choice said. "You know it's cool to make a big hit. But it's not cool when somebody's down like that."
Earlier in the game, Spikes was penalized for roughing the passer on a lunging hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick, which knocked Fitzpatrick's helmet off. Fitzpatrick got up in Spikes' face after the play.
He also delivered two punishing blows in the first meeting.
"I think he's a punk at times," Fitzpatrick said. "He's not high on my list."
---Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a neck injury.
Black was taken off the field on a stretcher during Sunday's 34-24 win over the San Diego Chargers, then taken to a local hospital and released Sunday night.
Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano told reporters Monday that he hoped Black's injury wasn't career-threatening.
---Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith told reporters Tuesday that he won't address accusations that players Sean Weatherspoon and Jonathan Babineaux intentionally interfered with the New Orleans Saints' pregame warm-up routine Sunday, according to multiple reports.
Saints linebackers Scott Shanle and Jonathan Vilma told ESPN that the Falcons walked through their drill and talked trash.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the altercation. Shanle described the behavior to ESPN as "disrespectful and classless."
Vilma told ESPN that they gave the Falcons respect despite having dominated their division rivals. A member of the Falcons organization told ESPN that the Saints shouldn't be complaining about another team's behavior, given their participation in an alleged bounty scandal.
---The Chicago Bears signed quarterback Josh McCown and waived tight end Brody Eldridge on Tuesday.
McCown started 33 of his 50 NFL appearances in nine seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers and Bears. He was selected in the third round of 2002 Draft by Arizona.
In three games with Chicago last season, McCown completed 35 of 55 passes for 414 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
---With Mike Holmgren on his way out as Cleveland Browns president, speculation has shifted to where the former Super Bowl champion coach will land next.
One of those spots could be the Dallas Cowboys, should coach Jason Garrett be fired after the season. Holmgren has known owner Jerry Jones for many years.
Holmgren attempted to quiet that talk Monday, telling the Cleveland media that he has spoken to anyone about his future.
"I haven't booked my tickets to Dallas," Holmgren said. "I haven't talked to a single soul. That's the first thing. The second thing is I honestly don't know what the future holds or what I want to do. Honestly. Believe me on that. Thirdly, I've always been, quite honestly, bothered by the speculation during the season when coaches are trying to work and they're fighting like crazy for their jobs, and I would never do that. I would never do that to anybody. I have tremendous respect for obviously Jason Garrett."
For his part, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan that Garrett is his guy.
"I can't get into that conversation because of how fired up I am about the future of Jason," Jones said. "The future is now. I'm fired about him and what he can be as coach of the Cowboys. Mike Holmgren is someone I can't tell you on an individual basis how much I respect. He is everything you would want as far as a coach is concerned. I appreciate the compliment when he was talking about how he was impressed with our talent and the fact the fact that we could work together. That is just the case. But the bottom line is it's all about Jason with me."
---The Baltimore Ravens signed free agent cornerback Chris Johnson to their 53-man roster and placed rookie RB Bobby Rainey on Injured Reserve, the team announced Tuesday.
Johnson has appeared in 73 games, and has made 157 tackles, eight interceptions. He was dealt to the St. Louis Rams in 2005, and also spent five years with the Oakland Raiders.
---Linebacker Aaron Maybin was waived by the New York Jets while defensive back Isaiah Trufant was placed on injured reserve with a left knee injury, the team announced Tuesday.
Maybe was signed as restricted free agent last April and played in eight games this season, registering six sacks, four forced fumbles and 42 tackles for his career.
Trufant was signed to the Jets' practice squad two seasons ago and soon activated as part of the 2010 team that went to the AFC Championship game. He has seen action with them for parts of the last two seasons. He has played one game this season.