BRIAN CASSELLA / AP Enlarge
PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers have no knowledge that Ben Roethlisberger played the Super Bowl with two broken ribs, as the quarterback told a Web site.
According to SI.com, Findlay native Roethlisberger said his fractured ribs did not show up on X-rays taken before he led the Steelers to a 27-23 win over Arizona on Feb. 1 but were revealed only during an MRI test he had last week.
"Luckily, in the game, I didn't take any big hits to make 'em hurt," Roethlisberger told the Web site. "But I knew all along there was something wrong. There wouldn't have been anything that could have been done about fractured ribs anyway. It was just suck it up and play.
Roethlisberger did not miss any practices before the Super Bowl, although a pool report from the Wednesday practice said he attempted during the middle of the workout to stretch his torso. He missed one practice during the off week before the Super Bowl because of what the team said was a back injury.
"There's not a whole lot to say," Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said. "Ben was fine to go. He was cleared to play. He didn't miss any [practice] time. There was no doubt he was going to play."
The Steelers said it would have been difficult for Roethlisberger to play any better than he did in leading the decisive 78-yard drive that ended with a precisely thrown six-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds remaining, Several plays before, Roethlisberger - leading his sixth game-winning drive of the season - hit Holmes on a 40-yard completion.
Roethlisberger did not mention any possible injury during postgame interviews.
It is uncertain if the validity of Roethlisberger's claim will be proven. NFL teams do not routinely require players to undergo MRI or other medical tests during the offseason, and Roethlisberger isn't due back in Pittsburgh until offseason workouts begin in April. By then, any problem that occurred before or during the Super Bowl might not show up in tests.
Roethlisberger has previously exaggerated or misstated injuries he supposedly suffered during his five-season career.
The day after the January 2005 AFC championship game, Roethlisberger said he broke two toes during the 41-27 loss to New England. Coach Bill Cowher emphatically denied that, saying the quarterback merely aggravated a toe injury from college. Roethlisberger never brought up the issue again.
Roethlisberger also said during training camp in 2006 that he played the Steelers' Super Bowl-winning season of 2005 with a broken thumb. Roethlisberger missed no playing time after supposedly being hurt on Nov. 28, 2005, in Indianapolis, and the team never revealed any such injury.
After Cowher resigned following the 2006 season, Roethlisberger acknowledged he and the coach didn't always get along - in part, apparently, because Cowher felt the quarterback exaggerated the extent of injuries.
It also was reported that
Roethlisberger sustained a spinal cord concussion against Cleveland, but the team said only that he had a concussion.
CLEVELAND - Quarterbacks Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski, both of whom started games for Cleveland last season, were cut by the Browns yesterday.
Dorsey was the club's third-string quarterback but had to make three starts after the Browns lost Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn to season-ending injuries. He injured his ribs and sustained a mild concussion in a loss at Cincinnati, forcing the club to sign University of Toledo alumnus Gradkowski for the season finale against Pittsburgh.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. - High-priced cornerback Leigh Bodden was one of six players released by the Lions yesterday.
The other players being let go are wide receiver Mike Furrey, guard Edwin Mulitalo, safety Dwight Smith, tight end Dan Campbell, and offensive tackle Jon Dunn.
Acquiring Bodden was the Lions' biggest move last winter. They traded standout defensive tackle Shaun Rogers to the Browns for Bodden.
He signed a $27 million, four-year contract extension with the Lions before the season. The deal won't kick in because Bodden won't be on the roster next month when he was due to collect an $8.6 million bonus.42.26392 -83.22005