PITTSBURGH -- Tommy Maddox will be the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback against Houston on Sunday, three weeks after being briefly paralyzed by a hit in Tennessee.
Maddox has not played since being hurt Nov. 17, except to hold on kicks Sunday in Jacksonville. Kordell Stewart was 38-of-52 for 438 yards, one touchdown and one interception and ran 22 times for 124 yards and a touchdown in two winning starts as Maddox's replacement.
Despite Stewart's effective play as the Steelers beat Cincinnati and Jacksonville, Cowher said Tuesday that Maddox's strong play before he was hurt did not justify him losing his job to an injury.
The week before a hit by Tennessee's Keith Bulluck temporarily left him with cerebral and spinal cord concussions, Maddox passed for a club-record 473 yards in a 34-34 tie with Atlanta.
Cowher announced his decision before practice resumed Wednesday so it did not become a weeklong distraction to the Steelers (7-4-1), who are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. Last week, he declined to confirm Stewart would start in Jacksonville until game day.
With the quarterbacks getting nearly equal playing time so far, the Steelers have produced 23 touchdowns with Maddox and 10 with Stewart.
Peppers withdraws appeal
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Star rookie defensive end Julius Peppers of the Carolina Panthers was suspended Tuesday for the final four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Peppers' agent, Marvin Demoff, told the league Tuesday morning that he was withdrawing an appeal of the suspension. Demoff said last month that the league told him Peppers tested positive for a banned substance in a dietary supplement.
The 22-year-old defensive lineman ranks third in the NFL with 12 sacks but will end his season short of Jevon Kearse's rookie record of 14 1/2. He will be eligible to play in the Pro Bowl if selected.
An All-American at North Carolina, Peppers left after his junior year and was the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft.
The Panthers are 4-8 and have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Lyman out for season
Chicago Bears tight end Dustin Lyman, who caught two touchdowns passes in Sunday's loss to Green Bay, will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.
Lyman will have reconstructive surgery on the knee, which will require 7-10 months of rehabilitation, the team said Tuesday. He had reconstructive surgery on the same knee in college.
-- From wire reports