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Steelers face dilemma with 2 starting QBs

PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger is taking nearly all the snaps with the regulars and apparently will until the Steelers' voluntary practices end next week.

What coach Mike Tomlin isn't saying is how practice time will be divided during training camp, when Pittsburgh will be preparing two starting quarterbacks for the same season.

One quarterback must be ready to play during Roethlisberger's six-game suspension, apparently Byron Leftwich, who played last season with the Bucs. Roethlisberger also needs plenty of camp work because he can't practice while he's suspended.

No wonder receiver Antwaan Randle El calls it a "tricky" and "delicate" situation, and Tomlin doesn't disagree.

If he gives too much work to Leftwich, it could harm Roethlisberger when it's his time to play in October. Give too much time to Roethlisberger, and the Steelers risk a slow start with an unprepared quarterback.

During the ongoing voluntary practices, the designated No. 1 quarterback — currently, Roethlisberger — gets nearly all the work with the starters. That's likely to change once training camp starts July 30 and full contact is permitted.

"The minute you step on the field at Latrobe, you're competing for work, you're competing to make it," Tomlin said Wednesday. "You're preparing yourself to face the challenges of the season. So it's a different approach. One of the fundamental differences is that we're suited and booted in training camp. And I acknowledge that's a big element of the game."

CONCUSSION STUDY: NFL doctors, trainers and players spent much of an all-day conference discussing football and brain injuries. Their conclusion: They have a lot to learn. "The fairly unanimous feeling was that we needed new studies," said Dr. Constantine Lyketsos of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Richard Ellen­bogen, a co-chairman of the NFL's revamped head, neck and spine medical committee, said the goal is to change the culture among NFL players, who have a tendency to downplay head injuries.

REDSKINS AIM HIGH: Now that the New York area is getting a cold weather Super Bowl, Redskins owner Dan Snyder is going to try to do the same for the nation's capital. Snyder said he thinks the 2014 game at the Meadowlands will spur the league to give other nontraditional cities a chance.

TWITTER BATTLE: Vikings coach Brad Childress said he is not concerned with the trash-talking Twitter tussle that has been going on between tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and Saints safety Darren Sharper for the better part of two weeks.

RAMS: Free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, the team's top playmaker the past four seasons, became an unrestricted free agent.

Steelers face dilemma with 2 starting QBs 06/02/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 9:35pm]
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