Did Byron Leftwich injure his shoulder on his 31-yard touchdown run on the third play of the game…when nobody touched him?
And how bad is the rib injury that Mike Tomlin – and Leftwich – dismissed after the game?
Leftwich looked to be in discomfort several times during the loss to the Ravens, especially after he was sacked late in the fourth quarter and walked hunched over to the sideline.
But, on several occasions during the game, he would get up slowly after a hit and appear to hold his rib – an injury that could have occurred as early as his touchdown run on the first possession.
Leftwich ran untouched for the score – he had the cut inside safety Bernard Pollard around the 20 – but when he fell into the end zone he appeared to injure his shoulder or ribs. When players came to congratulate him, they hesitated touching him until he got to his feet and made it seem as though he was OK.
Charlie Batch, the other backup quarterback, even started to warm up on the sideline. Several players asked Leftwich if he was OK when he came to the sideline.
Leftwich, though, never came out of the game, and that is understandable. After getting his first regular-season start since September, 2009, and with a history of being injury-prone, he was not going to come out of the game after just three plays. Nor would he admit he was injured – again – when nobody touched him.
Leftwich is paid more than $2 million to be Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. He has to prove to his teammates and the organization he is worth the money, especially after they brought him back a second time in 2010 to be their four-game quarterback while Roethlisberger served a suspension. Leftwich, though, never got to do it because he was injured in the preseason finale.
This is his chance, and he’s going to give it up. Unless, of course, another injury makes that choice for him.
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