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Join Date: September 11, 2005
Location: Eastern Panhandle of Wv
October 15, 2005, 02:07 AM

Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch drops back to pass during the teams afternoon...
Steelers' Roethlisberger, Ward May Sit
Friday, October 14, 2005 7:32 PM EDT
The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) Ben Roethlisberger apparently won't be the only key member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense on the sideline for Sunday's game against Jacksonville. Four-time Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward may be there, too.

Roethlisberger resumed practicing Friday after hyperextending his left knee Monday night in San Diego, but the quarterback missed part of the workout and remains doubtful meaning there is a 25 percent chance he will play.

With Roethlisberger unlikely to start after the shorter than usual work week, Tommy Maddox is expected to make his first start since the 2004 regular season finale against Buffalo. Maddox was the starter in 2003 and for most of 2002, but lost his job after injuring an elbow during the second game of last season and Roethlisberger went on to win all 13 of his starts as a rookie.

Maddox was expected to miss at least several games after injuring a calf in practice Oct. 7, and coach Bill Cowher said Tuesday that No. 3 quarterback Charlie Batch looked to be the "starter by default." Batch took a majority of the snaps in practice Wednesday.

But when Maddox's injury turned out to be less severe than initially thought and he practiced without problems, he was upgraded from questionable to probable on Thursday. Since Maddox has played much more in recent seasons than Batch, who has thrown only eight passes in four seasons, Maddox is expected to start.

Cowher doesn't plan to announce his starter until Sunday.

"You're always excited about the opportunity to play, and this is no different," said Maddox, who set a team record with 519 pass attempts during a 6-10 season in 2003. "I'm excited about going out and seeing what happens."

But Maddox apparently won't have Ward as a target. Ward missed practice for the third consecutive day Friday because of a nagging hamstring injury he aggravated against the Chargers, and the Steelers almost never play any player who misses a full week of practice.

Ward, 14 receptions away from tying Hall of Famer John Stallworth's team career record of 537 receptions, has played in 116 consecutive games since being drafted in 1998. But while Ward hopes to play, he said the injury is much like that which sidelined former Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress for five games last season.

"It will be a game time decision, and I want to play," said Ward, who leads the Steelers with 18 catches for 302 yards and four touchdowns.

If Ward can't go, Antwaan Randle El and former 49ers receiver Cedrick Wilson will start against the Jaguars (3-2), who are coming off a 23-20 victory over previously unbeaten Cincinnati on Sunday. The Bengals' loss, coupled with the Steelers' 24-22 win in San Diego a night later, drew Pittsburgh (3-1) to within one-half game of Cincinnati (4-1) for the AFC North lead.

Also questionable is linebacker James Harrison (groin), who started Monday in place of the injured Clark Haggans and made his first career interception. Haggans is out until at least early next month after undergoing groin surgery.

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