View Full Version : Ben says bond with teammates has helped him

11-11-2009, 01:40 PM
Ben Roethlisberger says bond with teammates has helped him weather sexual assault accusations

On the field, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is currently headed for the team's (and maybe the NFL's) record book.

But it's off the field where Roethlisberger may be showing even sterner mettle in the Steel City. His play hasn't suffered even though he was accused of rape by a Nevada hotel employee in July and hit with a civil suit.

Roethlisberger discussed his tribulations and how his newfound maturity as a teammate has helped him endure thus far on ESPN's E:60 Tuesday night.

"I was blown away," he said of first learning of the allegations. "It shocked me. It hurt. Because people that know me and that I'm close with know this is ridiculous."

Roethlisberger said he "was almost in tears" when he made his first public comments steadfastly denying the charges at a team press conference in July.

So how has he been able to thrive in light of what he's dealing with in his personal life?

"I've been able to kind of put it behind me when I go into practice, when I go into work," he said.

"I just block it out."

Roethlisberger also expounded on his choice to fight the suit rather than accept an offer to settle out of court.

"We want to clear my name," he said, "because that's what hurt the most, is that my name -- my family's name -- has been tarnished by this accusation."

The quarterback also cites support from his teammates for getting him through this difficult period, even though Roethlisberger acknowledged he wasn't the best teammate early in his career. "I was invincible. I was Superman. I was probably a little too confident, a little too cocky at times," he admitted.

He also says a frank conversation with backup QB Charlie Batch helped bring him closer to the men in the Pittsburgh locker room.

"I wasn't a good leader early on, and I wasn't probably the best teammate I should've been the first couple years," said Roethlisberger. "And Charlie helped me, and I think I became a better teammate and friend to a lot of these guys."

Said Steelers DE Brett Keisel: "He's really taken the leadership role and ran with it.

"He's really come along not only on the field but inside the locker room, too."

Big Ben has become particularly close with the offensive linemen who have been frequently pilloried for surrendering 162 sacks of their quarterback in the last 3 1/2 years.

But while piloting an offense that has shed its run-oriented mentality, Roethlisberger is on pace to throw for close to 4,600 yards. No Steeler has ever topped the 4,000-yard plateau. He could also challenge his own club marks for TD passes (32) and passer rating (104.1).

Roethlisberger and Colts QB Peyton Manning could also eclipse Ken Anderson's single-season mark for completion percentage (70.55%). Big Ben currently stands at 70.611% with Peyton at 70.607%.

Named a captain the past two seasons, Roethlisberger has made a point of frequently calling and text messaging his teammates throughout the year, loyalty that's come back to him in spades.

"You know what? There's a lot of things can happen in your life -- good, bad, ugly, whatever it is," said Roethlisberger.

"These allegations are just ... they're tough, they're tough on me. But my teammates, knowing that they support me and have my back, that really just means a lot." -- Nate Davis
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NW Steeler
11-11-2009, 03:31 PM
I watched the E:60 show that had the story on Ben last night. It was a pretty good piece. Catch it if you can.

11-11-2009, 03:43 PM
its a shame that this happened..and it is also ashame that the accuser is ugly too..