Cowher: Big Ben had 100.4 degree fever, not 104

Updated: September 19, 2006, 9:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was among the Steelers who didn't look sharp in Pittsburgh's 9-0 loss at Jacksonville on Monday night. However, coach Bill Cowher said his ill quarterback wasn't as sick as reported by ESPN.

Dan Patrick Show:
Sean Salisbury
ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury gave the Jaguars defense kudos, but also said that if Ben Roethlisberger is 90 percent you have to play him because he needs to get his timing down.

To listen to all of Salisbury's comments, click here. Insider

Roethlisberger had flu-like symptoms during the game that were unrelated to the appendectomy, but Cowher said reports that his quarterback had a 104-degree fever were erroneous and that, in fact, Roethlisberger's temperature was 100.4.

Roethlisberger completed 17 of 32 passes for 141 yards and threw two interceptions.

The quarterback was making his first appearance of the season after a tumultuous few months. He was in a serious motorcycle accident June 12 and, seemingly fully recovered from the resulting facial surgery, underwent an emergency appendectomy Sept. 3.

Clayton's take
 John Clayton
Ben Roethlisberger still needs more help from the running game, which didn't do the job Monday night against the Jaguars. Willie Parker is a home-run hitter in the backfield, but he doesn't get the 4- and 5-yard gains that eventually set up third-and-3 and third-and-4 situations.

To read more from John Clayton's Quick Hits, click here. Insider

"When you go from preseason to regular season, everybody's going through that period of acclimation to the speed of the game," Cowher said. "The speed does go up going into the regular season, but it does for the other team, as well. But when you come into it the second week of the season and [the opponent] already has been through that first week of acclimation, it's tough."

Pittsburgh produced only 152 yards of offense and advanced past midfield only once -- to the Jaguars 46. But the Steelers' 26 yards on the ground was more of a culprit, and Cowher said he never considered inserting backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who played well the previous week in a win over Miami.

Cowher noted that Roethlisberger and top receiver Hines Ward had not even practiced together for more than a month until last week. Ward sat out much of training camp with a hamstring injury.

"There's no substitute for playing time," Cowher said. "And we have [now] gotten Ben that."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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