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Steelers lose top safety

Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers got by for one night, barely, without a running game. What could be more difficult: getting by the first half of the season without All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu.

Polamalu, a game-changing talent who might be one of the NFL’s most irreplaceable players, sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during a blocked field goal in Pittsburgh’s 13-10 overtime victory over Tennessee on Thursday night.

Even before Polamalu underwent more tests Friday to further evaluate the injury – a sprain is a tear in the ligament – Steelers coach Mike Tomlin estimated he would be out from three to six weeks. Players have returned from such an injury within a month, but not often.

Merriman cleared

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis dismissed reality TV star Tila Tequila’s accusations that San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman choked her and threw her to the ground early Sunday while she was trying to leave his suburban home.

Merriman was arrested after Tequila signed a citizen’s arrest warrant accusing Merriman of battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.

Dumanis decided not to charge Merriman after her office spent three days reviewing reports from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Around the league

Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini said he has not been contacted by the NFL in its investigation about a possible injury-report cover up while he was with the New York Jets. On Thursday, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum admitted the team should have disclosed Brett Favre’s torn biceps tendon on mandatory weekly injury reports the final third of last season. Mangini, who was fired by New York in December, said he has always followed league rules when filling out the report. … New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady confirmed that he and model Gisele Bundchen are expecting a baby. … Cincinnati and Arizona announced that their season openers sold out in time to avoid a local blackout, while Oakland received a 24-hour extension from the NFL. … Oakland reportedly sent defensive lineman Richard Seymour a letter giving him until Tuesday to report to the team or face a possible season-long suspension. The Raiders acquired Seymour from New England last Sunday for a 2011 first-round pick. … Brady Quinn took the snaps with Cleveland’s first-team offense during practice, the clearest sign yet he will be the starting quarterback in Sunday’s season opener against Minnesota.

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