Ben Roethlisberger won't play for Steelers Sunday; Byron Leftwich starting

It shouldn't be a shocker, considering the weird/random/nasty/awkward injury Ben Roethlisberger suffered against the Chiefs on Monday night, but he won't play on Sunday against the Ravens,'s Mike Freeman confirms. Instead, Byron Leftwich will start at quarterback for the Steelers, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

Though Roethlisberger was technically "questionable" per coach Mike Tomlin's injury update Tuesday, the idea of him playing was insane. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported he woudln't take the field.

Instead, Leftwich will get the nod for Pittsburgh. Freeman reports, however, that Roethlisberger "has been pushing to play this week."

That's not surprising either, but the Steelers would be crazy to listen to him. This seems even more true when you consider there are reports, first from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that Roethlisberger has a potentially dangerous rib injury. This injury is reportedly more concerning to the Steelers than the one to Roethlisberger's shoulder, although it went unmentioned by Tomlin during his conference.

So sitting him is the smart thing to do: There was concern about Roethlisberger being out a lengthy amount of time and the notion of him playing a week after injuring the SC joint in his throwing arm is insane. Roethlisberger can withstand pain about as well as anyone, but rushing him out there for the first of two Baltimore games in the next three weeks isn't a good idea.

My colleague Ryan Wilson believes the Steelers would be better off trotting out Charlie Batch than Leftwich, but the very argument for either one points out just how important having Roethlisberger healthy really is.

The Steelers can keep their heads above water with either Batch or Leftwich under center, thanks primarily to their two-game lead in the wild-card race. Catching the Ravens now seems much less likely, but it's not out of the question if Roethlisberger can return -- in full health and effectiveness -- for the second Ravens game in Week 13.

That would entail doing the smart thing and keeping Ben on the sidelines for the next two weeks in order to maximize his recovery time. The Steelers are at least reportedly taking the first step.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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