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home : sports : regional August 27, 2015

11/15/2012
Quick Hits

NFL

Big Ben To Miss Sunday Night's Baltimore Game

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing for first place in the AFC North without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The team announced Wednesday that backup Byron Leftwich will start against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in place of Roethlisberger, who sprained his right shoulder in Monday night's victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Steelers (6-3) have won four straight to pull within a game of first-place Baltimore (7-2), but Roethlisberger left the 16-13 overtime win over the Chiefs in the third quarter after getting slammed to the ground by a pair of Kansas City linebackers.

The two-time Super Bowl winner underwent extensive testing Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury to his throwing shoulder. It's still unknown how long Roethlisberger will be sidelined. Pittsburgh faces the Ravens twice in the next three weeks.

Leftwich completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards after replacing Roethlisberger. He will be making his first start since 2009 when he played for Tampa Bay.




The former first-round pick has been plagued by injuries the last two seasons and said he felt a little rusty after seeing his first regular season action in nearly two years, though coach Mike Tomlin anticipates the rust to wear off this week.

Leftwich is 0-6 in his last six games as a starter, his last victory coming on Oct. 8, 2006.

NHL

Talks at an Impasse; Hope for Season Fades

NEW YORK -- Now the NHL and the locked-out players' association aren't even talking by phone.

With the lockout about to enter its third month, communications between the fighting sides have come to a halt with no clear sign of what the next step will be or when it will be taken.

"No, we have not communicated today," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The AP on Wednesday in an email. "No meetings scheduled, and no plans to meet."

After four straight days of negotiations in New York last week, talks broke off angrily Friday night. Discussions resumed on Sunday, solely regarding player contract terms, but that meeting ended after only 90 minutes.

The union contends that the NHL doesn't want to get back together yet.

"The players remain prepared to resume negotiations at any time," NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said.

At this point, no decisions have been made to call off any more games, Daly said. It is believed that an agreement would need to be in place by the end of next week for the season to get under way on Dec. 1.

NASCAR

Paul Wolfe Initially Said No to Keselowski's Offer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Paul Wolfe wasn't interested in working with Brad Keselowski when the driver first approached him about a potential pairing back in August 2009.

"I told him, 'Hey, man, I want you to come over and crew chief this deal,'" Keselowski said of the conversation. "He looked me in the eye and said, 'No, I don't want to do it.' "

Wolfe was content at CJM Racing, and had made a commitment to the Nationwide Series team. And even if he were to leave, he wasn't sure he wanted to team with Keselowski, who had had some on-track incidents with Wolfe's driver.

"I think he was kind of mad at me because I had wrecked his car," Keselowski joked.

A few months later, without Keselowski's knowledge, Penske Racing officials approached Wolfe about joining the organization. When Keselowski found out, he told the team not to waste their time.

"I kind of laughed and said, 'Good luck,' " Keselowski said. "They said, 'We've been talking to him the last two weeks and he wants to do it.'"

So what changed?

Funding, for one. Wolfe had given CJM his word, but the team circumstances changed at the end of 2009 and Wolfe needed a job.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

ACC, Orange Bowl Finalize 12-Year Deal

The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Orange Bowl have finalized a 12-year deal placing the ACC champion annually in the bowl against either a team from the SEC or Big Ten or Notre Dame starting Jan. 1, 2015, sources said Wednesday.

ESPN will pay an average of $55 million annually for the bowl, sources said.

That amount will be split evenly between the ACC and the SEC or Big Ten, depending on which conference has a team is in the bowl. However, when Notre Dame plays in the bowl, the Fighting Irish will receive a "significant amount less" than the $27.5 million payout the SEC or Big Ten will receive, sources said.

The Orange Bowl is one of the six bowls in the rotation for the semifinals for college football's upcoming playoff, which will begin after the 2014 regular season. It is one of three contract bowls along with the Rose (Big Ten and Pac-12 champions) and Sugar (SEC and Big 12 champions) bowls. Each will be televised on ESPN.

In years when the ACC champion or another ACC team qualifies for the four-team national semifinals, then the next highest-ranked ACC team would play in the Orange Bowl.







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