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Sunday, November 17
Maddox has concussion, spinal cord contusion

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox was taken off the field by ambulance after the final play of the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Maddox, 31, was taken to Baptist Hospital's trauma unit where he was being kept overnight.

"Tommy suffered a concussion and spinal cord contusion,'' Steelers spokesman Ron Wahl said Sunday night. "He has movement in all four of his limbs. He is awake, alert and has been talking with his family.''

Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said after the Steelers' 31-23 loss that Maddox was conscious and talking while he was lying on the field, but that he'd lost feeling. Cowher said Maddox had regained some feeling while at the hospital.

"We're all cautiously optimistic, as you would know,'' Cowher said.

Maddox's condition will not be updated until Monday, and that information will come from the Steelers in Pittsburgh, according to Wahl.

Some of Maddox's teammates were relieved and called it good news.

"He's gotten some feeling in his arms, and that's good,'' receiver Terance Mathis said. "He's going to be fine. Tommy, he's been blessed. I don't think God brought him this far to leave him right now, so he's going to be just fine.''

Maddox was falling forward as he completed a pass to Antwaan Randle El when Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck put his elbow into Maddox's left shoulder. Maddox rolled forward onto his head and did not move.

Team trainers and doctors spent at least 15 minutes tending to Maddox, and Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress said Maddox was talking and telling them what was wrong and seemed in good spirits.

A few of his teammates kneeled and prayed on the sideline. A flatbed cart was brought out, then sent back before the ambulance drove onto the field near where Maddox had fallen, at the Pittsburgh 20.

The Titans have experienced a similar situation with cornerback Samari Rolle, who twice has been taken to a hospital after bruising his spinal cord during his career, including last season when he was hurt at Baltimore last season.

"There's nothing good about it,'' Rolle said. "Football's a physical game, and I just hope he's OK.''

Maddox came into the game as the AFC's second-rated passer in the comeback story of the season.

A first-round draft pick out of UCLA in 1992, the former insurance salesman and Arena League and XFL quarterback took over the Steelers' starting job from Kordell Stewart after coming off the bench against Cleveland on Sept. 29 and rallying them to their first victory of the season.

Maddox ended a nearly 10-year drought between starts on Oct. 6 in a loss to New Orleans, but he guided the Steelers to four straight victories and nearly salvaged another win against Atlanta last week before the game ended in a 34-all tie. Maddox passed for a team-record 473 yards.

Maddox came into Sunday's game with a 97.9 passer rating and hadn't been intercepted more than twice in a game. But the Titans intercepted three of his passes, and he was 14-of-28 for 194 yards before he was knocked out of the game.

Stewart replaced Maddox and might have rallied Pittsburgh to victory if he'd had a little more time. Coming in with 8 minutes remaining, Stewart was 13-of-17 for 124 yards and two 4-yard TD passes, to Terance Mathis and Hines Ward. He also found Dan Kreider for a 2-point conversion after the Mathis touchdown to cut the lead to 31-15 with 3:25 left.

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