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Neck injury could end Steelers' Okobi's career

LATROBE, Pa. (Aug. 8, 2006) -- A neck injury suffered by Pittsburgh Steelers reserve center Chukky Okobi may be career threatening, coach Bill Cowher said.

The sixth-year veteran complained of neck pain last week and was held out of some contact drills, but the pain persisted and team doctors checked him out Aug. 8. Okobi has a herniated disc in his neck, an injury that could threaten his season and possibly his career, Cowher said.

"It could be very significant," Cowher said. "I don't want to give you any more than that, but it does not look good."

The 27-year-old Okobi was a fifth-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2001 after playing center in front of current New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees at Purdue.

Last season, Okobi played in all 16 regular-season games and all four playoff games on special teams. He has started five NFL games, all in 2002, as a replacement for injured Jeff Hartings.

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