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Maddox hurt in loss, improves in hospital

©Associated Press
November 18, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Steelers went home looking for answers Sunday but were still relieved quarterback Tommy Maddox could move his arms and legs after being taken off the field in an ambulance.

In a 31-23 loss to Tennessee, Maddox was tripped up by safety Lance Schulters and tossed the ball to Antwaan Randle El as he fell forward. Linebacker Keith Bulluck hit Maddox's shoulder with his forearm, and Maddox rolled onto his head and did not move.

Maddox had no sensation but was conscious and talking as he was strapped to a backboard. Trainers and doctors worked on him for at least 15 minutes, then Maddox was lifted onto a stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and taken to Baptist Hospital's trauma unit, where he was being kept overnight.

Steelers spokesman Ron Wahl said Maddox had a bruised spinal cord and a concussion. Wahl said Maddox was awake and alert, talked with his family and could move all of his extremities.

Maddox's condition will be updated today, and that information will come from the Steelers in Pittsburgh, according to Wahl.

"We're all cautiously optimistic," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said.

"He's gotten some feeling in his arms, and that's good," receiver Terance Mathis said. "He's going to be fine."

Safety Lee Flowers said it was tough to keep playing after Maddox was hurt.

"You know sometimes we are fans, too. You look at a guy who has busted his tail for 10 years to get into this position for him to get hurt, it is tough," Flowers said.

The Titans had their best performance in nearly two seasons.

Steve McNair threw two touchdowns to Kevin Dyson, and Eddie George ran for two as Tennessee won its fifth straight.

"I told our club five weeks ago when we were 1-4 we're going to be 6-4 if we keep playing and believing in ourselves, and here we are," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Maddox came in as the AFC's second-rated passer fresh off a 473-yard performance. He was heading an offense averaging 374.3 yards.

But the Steelers, who scored at least 17 points by halftime during their streak, never got going. Maddox was intercepted a season-high three times before he was hurt on the final play of the third quarter.

The Titans, tied for first place in the AFC South with Indianapolis, led 14-7 at halftime and put away the game in the third quarter, when they held the ball for more than 11 minutes and rolled up 159 of their 378 yards.

Tennessee allowed 8 yards and no first downs in the quarter.

Kordell Stewart, pulled for Maddox on Sept. 29 in a win over Cleveland, replaced Maddox this time. By then the Titans led 31-7 after a 34-yard field goal by Joe Nedney.

Stewart threw for two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions and pulled the Steelers within 31-23 with 1:26 left.

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