Bill Cowher said he’ll check the health of Ben Roethlisberger today before deciding whether he’ll be ready Sunday to serve as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ No. 2 quarterback.

Number 2?

“Tommy will start,” Cowher said of Tommy Maddox, who only 12 days ago was the backup to Charlie Batch, who hadn’t started a game in four years.

Maddox played miserably in a start against Jacksonville, and then took a beating in the press over a refuted story from his agent about fans trashing Maddox’s lawn.

Maddox was dropped to No. 3 behind Roethlisberger and Batch because of a shoulder injury, and remained at the bottom of the depth chart when the injury healed.

With both quarterbacks injured this week, Maddox will have a chance to redeem himself in Baltimore against the 2-7 Ravens.

Did Maddox think he’d ever get another start under center with the Steelers?

“Yeah, I really did,” he said. “I think that you know that you’ve got to prepare, you know that crazy things happen in this league, and I knew sooner or later I’d get a chance to go back on the field. I didn’t know when that time would be, but I kept trying to work hard and prepare for this opportunity.”

Against Jacksonville, Maddox completed 39 percent of his passes for 154 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, the last of which was returned in overtime for a score.

Maddox’s prior start was Sept. 19 last year in Baltimore, where he completed four of 13 passes for 67 yards.

The Ravens handed the Steelers their only loss of the season, 30-13, that day.

Maddox was injured in the game and lost his job to Roethlisberger, who went on to post a 13-0 record as the starter.

Does the return trip to Baltimore carry any significance with Maddox?

“No,” he said. “That’s a good story for y’all to write about and talk about, but it’s another place to play. I’ve played there plenty of times and I’m excited about going in there and playing.”

With Pittsburgh, Maddox has started three games in Baltimore and the Steelers are 1-2 in those games. Overall, in his 31⁄2 seasons with the Steelers, Maddox is 15-15-1 as the starting quarterback. His passer rating with the Steelers is 77, but in his last five starts he’s thrown eight interceptions and only two touchdown passes.

“The guys in the locker room, and Coach Cowher and the rest of the coaches, we’ve been through a lot together,” Maddox said.

“I’ve been through a lot more with them than just one game. I’m excited that all the guys have shown a lot of confidence in me this week and I’m excited about going out there and playing.”

Joining Maddox in the backfield will be Willie Parker, who leads the team in rushing with 615 yards (4.7 avg.) but missed the last game with an ankle injury. He was upgraded Thursday to probable.

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