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AP Source: Steelers QB Leftwich has rib injury

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AP Source: Steelers QB Leftwich has rib injury

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers are running out of quarterbacks with healthy ribs.

A person familiar with the injury told The Associated Press quarterback Byron Leftwich injured his ribs in the first quarter of Sunday night's 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and will not start next week in Cleveland. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not officially commented on Leftwich's status.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the decision.

Leftwich is the second Pittsburgh quarterback in as many weeks to go down. Starter Ben Roethlisberger is out indefinitely after spraining his right shoulder and dislocating his first rib in a 16-13 overtime victory against the Kansas City Chiefs last Monday.

The Steelers (6-4) will likely turn to 37-year-old backup Charlie Batch against the Browns (2-8). Batch is 5-2 while as a substitute starter over the past decade, including a 27-0 win over St. Louis last December.

Making his first start in three years, Leftwich completed 18 of 39 passes for 201 yards and an interception. He also ran for a 31-yard touchdown in the first quarter, a play that ended with Leftwich clutching his chest.

The 32-year-old Leftwich remained in the game but took a beating, getting sacked three times and drilled a handful of others. He appeared in obvious pain on several occasions and had his ribs examined by team medical personnel in the fourth quarter while Batch warmed up on the sideline.

Leftwich did not miss a snap but labored throwing the ball. The former first round pick has one of the strongest arms in the NFL but was short on several passes to wide-open receivers in the second half as Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak came to a halt.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin downplayed any disappointment in Leftwich's play, saying he thought Leftwich was ``great'' on a night the Steelers recorded their lowest point total at home since a 3-0 victory over the Dolphins in the middle of a torrential rain storm five years ago.

``He sustained some hits, but that's football,'' Tomlin said, ``particularly when you're talking about this matchup.''

Leftwich, who did not take off his uniform until after reporters had left the locker room, was more focused on the offense's uneven play than his physical condition.

The Ravens did more than give themselves a nice two-game cushion over Pittsburgh (6-4) with six weeks remaining in the season, they also exposed the Steelers' flaws with Roethlisberger sidelined indefinitely with shoulder and rib injuries.

Even worse, the Steelers converted just 5 of 17 (30 percent) third-down opportunities, well off their 49-percent conversion rate with Roethlisberger.

``We just never could put two, three, four, five, six plays together,'' Leftwich said. ``We would make a big play and then we were right back to third-and-9, third-and-8 ... You've just got to be better on first and second down.''

The seventh overall pick by Jacksonville in 2003 has struggled to stay healthy through the years. He sat out all of last season after breaking his left arm in the preseason and was limited to just one game in 2010 due to a knee injury.

Now it's Batch's turn to keep Pittsburgh's postseason chances afloat. He beat out Jerrod Johnson for the team's third quarterback spot in training camp and while he lacks the arm strength of Leftwich and Roethlisberger, his accuracy and quick release should help him in offensive coordinator Todd Haley's short-passing attack.

Batch warmed up briefly on the sideline after Leftwich took a blindside hit from Baltimore safety James Ihedigbo midway through the fourth quarter on Sunday. Batch last played in a shutout victory over the Rams last Christmas Eve, completing 15 of 22 passes for 208 yards and an interception as the Steelers cruised.

``Charlie's a great quarterback, and he's also been in the league for some time now,'' Pittsburgh cornerback Keenan Lewis said. ``He knows the offense upside down (inside out), so if we have to rely on Charlie, we know he could get in there and win games.''

The Steelers will need to bring in another quarterback as insurance. They let Johnson go at the end of camp and released 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith following a brief stint with the team during the spring.

A rematch with the Ravens looms in two weeks, though Pittsburgh's hopes of catching the Ravens for the AFC North title have all but evaporated. The Steelers would likely need to win in Baltimore - where they're just 2-7 in the last nine meetings - and have the Ravens stumble to the finish to host a playoff game.

It's a notion the Steelers cling to, one that seems at least remotely plausible if the defense can continue to thrive. While Baltimore was busy harassing Leftwich, Pittsburgh was doing the same to Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco.

The Ravens managed a season-low 200 yards of total offense as the Steelers shut down running back Ray Rice - 20 carries for 40 yards - and never let speedy wide receiver Torrey Smith to get loose.

``We knew that it was going to be a defensive game coming in,'' linebacker Larry Foote said. ``It normally is. We mixed up a lot of blitzes and zone. Our back end did a great job.''

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Retired Steve Smith Sr. not interested in working out with current players

Retired Steve Smith Sr. not interested in working out with current players

Since announcing his retirement, former Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. says numerous players are expressing a desire to train with him this offseason.

It’s understandable why players would want to be mentored by Smith, after his brilliant 16-year career.

But while Smith has the time, he does not have the desire.

“People have been calling me, ‘Hey, wanted to work out…let’s watch some film…I need to work on some releases,”’ Smith said to James Lofton and Brad Hopkins on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

“I had some DB’s calling me, ‘Hey, you can give me some line work’, and all that stuff. When I was at the Super Bowl…I had probably about three or four people text me, saying, ‘Hey, let’s get up’, and I had some agents call me for their guy to help them work their guy out, get him prepared for the combine.

“And I had to take a step back and I said, ‘You know what? If I do all these things, now I’m getting my mind and body to say I can still play.

“So I had to text some guys and say, ‘You know what? I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to watch film with you and work out and train with you because that means I’m telling myself and my family I’m about to go play again. And I don’t want to go through that process. I’m done playing.’

“So if I’m training anybody, their last name is Smith, meaning my kids. I’m just going to love on them, and that training is less intense. The goal is so lesser. It’s, ‘Hey, let’s make sure we’re drinking water, fluid, and all that stuff.’ Out there, when you’re training for ball, it’s a different animal. So I said, ‘No.’’’

Smith sounds determined not to play anymore. He recently signed with NFL Network as an analyst, and he has not given any mixed signals about his desire to start a new chapter in his life.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said at the “State of the Ravens’’ press conference that if Smith wanted to return, the door was open.

However, Smith seems content to keep that door closed.  

RELATED: THE BEST OF STEVE SMITH SR. TRASH TALK

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Former Ravens RB Trent Richardson arrested on domestic violence charge

Former Ravens RB Trent Richardson arrested on domestic violence charge

Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson, who was signed by the Ravens in April 2016, was arrested Thursday night in Hoover, Ala. on a domestic violence charge, according to Hoover police.

Richardson, who was drafted by the Browns with No 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, joined the Ravens during the 2016 offseason before being waived prior to the start of training camp in August.

According to the report, Richardson was arrested following an incident at the Hyatt Place Hotel and was charged with one count of third-degree domestic violence. 

The argument between Richardson and the women began at a nearby Walmart before the altercation turned physical. 

RELATED: RICHARDSON DISCUSSES FAMILY FREELOADING

"Officers were able to make contact with an adult male and adult female who were involved in a domestic altercation," police said in the official release.

"After interviewing both parties it was determined that the two individuals had been arguing earlier while at the Walmart on John Hawkins Parkway and that the dispute continued after they arrived back at the hotel. At some point the situation turned physical and the female sustained injuries (scratches and bruising) about her face."

Richardson's NFL career has been wrought with disappointment.  He played just 17 games for the Browns — averaging 3.6 yards per carry—  before he was traded to the Colts in 2013. His numbers declined even more, and he was released at the end of the 2014 season. He spent the 2015 offseason with the Raiders, but was released before the beginning of the Regular season.

Richardson's last appearance in a regular season NFL game took place in a December 2014 Colts' victory over the Patriots in which he ran for 11 yards on six carries.

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