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Roethlisberger hurt, Steelers survive Chiefs 16-13

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Roethlisberger hurt, Steelers survive Chiefs 16-13

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers are right where they expected to be heading into a vital three-week stretch that includes two games against the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens.

They're just not sure quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be along for the ride.

The Steelers survived a scare from lowly Kansas City on Monday night, winning 16-13 in overtime when Lawrence Timmons intercepted Matt Cassel on the second snap of the extra session and Shaun Suisham hit a 23-yard field goal one play later.

It took some of the sting out of watching Roethlisberger head to the locker room - and ultimately the hospital - with a busted right shoulder after getting slammed to the turf by a pair of Kansas City linebackers in the third quarter.

Coach Mike Tomlin declined to speculate on Roethlisberger's status, though backup Byron Leftwich sounds like he's planning to be pretty busy over the next few days.

``I don't know the situation with Ben, but I got to make sure I'm ready if he can't go,'' Leftwich said.

The Steelers (6-3) have won four straight and can move into first place next week if they can beat the Ravens (7-2). The showdown takes on a different hue with Roethlisberger's health in question.

``You obviously worry about it because that's your starting quarterback, you want to see him out there,'' Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison said. ``But at the same point in time you've got a guy, two guys that are behind him can do the job just as well if not better.''

Roethlisberger completed 9 of 18 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown before leaving. Leftwich, playing for the first time in the regular season in nearly two years, completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards and led the Steelers to a go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.

``After four or five plays, it was like riding a bike,'' Leftwich said. ``I took a few hits. I hadn't hit the ground in a while. It was a whole lot of things I hadn't done in a while. It was good.''

Even if Roethlisberger was not. Tackle Max Starks didn't think the notoriously gritty Roethlisberger was in any real danger when he stood up after getting sandwiched between Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

``It didn't seem like a tough hit ... but he came to the sideline and next thing you know he was gone,'' Starks said. ``I'm hoping it was nothing serious. Honestly it didn't seem like it.''

While the Steelers ponder their postseason prospects with Roethlisberger uncertain, the Chiefs (1-8) are simply wondering when they're going to win another game.

Jamaal Charles ran for 100 yards and a score but couldn't stop Kansas City from dropping its sixth straight.

The Chiefs had their chances, taking their first lead in regulation all season in the first half then overcoming a series of embarrassing miscues to tie the game at 13 at the end of regulation.

Taking over at the Kansas City 20 with 1:51 remaining, Cassel led the Chiefs 52 yards - converting a fourth-and-15 in the process - to set up a 46-yard field goal by Ryan Succop as time expired.

``I thought our guys played and competed all night long,'' Cassel said. ``We went up against a good football team and unfortunately we weren't able to pull it out in the end, but I thought the way the guys handled the environment of Monday Night Football was great.''

Kansas City's only other victory this season came in overtime, a stunning upset in New Orleans in September. Any chance at a repeat faded when Cassel's pass on the second play of extra period landed in the hands of Timmons, who returned it 23 yards to set up Suisham's second game-winning field goal of the season.

It was sweet vindication for a Pittsburgh defense that allowed AFC lesser lights Tennessee and Oakland mount fourth-quarter comebacks earlier this season. Though the Steelers only managed to get the Chiefs - last in the NFL in turnover differential - to cough it up once, timing is everything.

``We got the one that count baby,'' linebacker Larry Foote said. ``We got the one that count. They did a good job tonight, but we got the one that was big time.''

NOTES: The Steelers have won 15 consecutive home games on Monday night ... Roethlisberger topped 1,000 career rushing yards with a 13-yard scramble in the first half ... Pittsburgh S Ryan Clark left the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion.

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Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

The NFL announced today that tight end Darren Waller of the Baltimore Ravens would be suspended for a year or longer for his second violation of the substance abuse policy.

Waller was a 2015 sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech who served a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season for a substance abuse violation. After returning from his suspension last year, he posted 10 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.

After his 2016 violation, he was quoted as saying [via Ravens.com]:

“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.”

Unfortunately for the Ravens, he will miss the 2017 season and potentially longer after the latest violation. It leaves the Ravens down two tight ends from last year after Dennis Pitta was released earlier this month after re-injuring his hip.

MORE RAVENS: Zach Orr considering coming out of retirement

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Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

In January of 2017, former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr took the podium at the team's training facility alongside head coach John Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, to announce he would be retiring from football at the age of 24.

Why? Orr suffered a shoulder injury during their week 16 game against longtime rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, which shed light into a condition he's had since birth.

He had a routine MRI, but the Ravens training staff suggested a full body CAT scan as well. The CAT scan reveled Orr had a congenital back/spine condition where one of the upper vertebra isn't totally formed causing there to be an opening. Less than 1 percent of people are born with such a condition and he wasn't aware of it until he suffered this injury.

Doctors told Orr he was at risk of paralysis or even death if he played with such a condition. He also would have never been able to pass an NFL physical, ultimately forcing him to retire.

During his press conference, Orr said this,

"If there's some miracle way where I can play the game, I promise I'd be the first one to grab my cleats again, start back training and try to find a way to get back out there," Orr said.

Well, fast forward to today and it seems that miracle may have happened.

NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo told Good Morning Football that after getting a second opinion from doctors, and receiving positive news, Orr is considering a return to the NFL.

"I had my mind made up. I was like man, the doctors told me I was done. This is a serious issue. So I'm going to leave it alone. But I just kept hearing that from multiple people and some were telling me to just go check out and seek out some more opinions and things like that and come to find out my condition, it is rare – .01 percent of the people have what I have – but there's no actual evidence or facts that I'm at a higher risk than any other player. And it's actually been documented that a college player who had the exact same thing that I have that returned to play with no problems."

The doctors' real concerns would be if someone with Orr's spinal condition played with a herniated disk. He did suffer from herniated disks last season, but that injury has since diminished. 

MORE RAVENS: 2017 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

If Orr does decide to get back into the NFL, getting signed could be pretty easy. 

When he announced his retirement, he never filed for retirement papers and the Ravens never placed him on their reserve/retired list because they never thought he would play again.

Because of this, Orr is considered an unrestricted free agent and can sign with a team right away. 

Orr had his best season in 2016, where he lead the Ravens in tackles with 133. It's been reported that eight teams have reached out to the linebacker since his announcement and that he will be meeting with the Lions on Thursday.