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fordfixer
11-12-2009, 03:17 AM
Steelers react to Roethlisberger's 'E:60' talk

By Mark Kaboly, Daily News Sports Editor
Thursday, November 12, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 52772.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_652772.html)

News that franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called himself a bad teammate early in his career caught Steelers players off-guard Wednesday.

Roethlisberger made the admission one night earlier during a national television interview on ESPN's primetime news program, "E:60."

"That surprises me," said defensive lineman Brett Keisel, who is Roethlisberger's closest friend on the team. "That doesn't sound like something he would say."

In a 10-minute interview Tuesday that also focused on pending sexual assault allegations against Roethlisberger, the Steelers' quarterback talked about the relationships he has forged with his teammates since entering the NFL in 2004.

"I wasn't a good leader early on and I wasn't the best teammate I could've been the first couple of years," Roethlisberger said. "I was invincible; I was Superman. I was probably a little too confident, a little too cocky at times."

During his first couple of years in the NFL, it wasn't uncommon for Roethlisberger to isolate himself from people, teammates included. It was common practice during meals at training camp for Roethlisberger to either sit at a table by himself or take his food back to his dorm room.

Even while throwing a single-season franchise-record 32 touchdown passes in 2007, Roethlisberger was snubbed for the team MVP award, with the honor going to first-year starting linebacker James Harrison.

Keisel, though, never got the impression that Roethlisberger was a bad teammate.

"I don't think that was the consensus of the team back then," Keisel said. "Ben came in and had a lot on his shoulders right away. He had a lot of pressure."

Roethlisberger did not meet with the media yesterday.

Said veteran defensive back Deshea Townsend: "As far as he was when he first got here, he has always been a good teammate. He has always been a guy we've gotten along with well in the locker room."

Linebacker and defensive captain James Farrior, who dresses only a few lockers away from Roethlisberger, feels the same.

"I wouldn't say he wasn't a good teammate," Farrior said. "It was just, I think, a lot of things were happening around him. Being a quarterback of a good team, you have a lot of expectations that you might not realize."

Toss in that Roethlisberger enjoyed unparalleled success over his first two NFL seasons he won 14 consecutive games as a rookie and a Super Bowl in his second campaign only made it worse. Farrior said Roethlisberger's unmatched achievements early in his career put demands on his time that in turn isolated the franchise quarterback him from his teammates.

"It's tough for a young guy sometimes being cast into that spotlight and that role if you're not used to it," Farrior said. "It can get to you, and it might seem like you're distancing yourself from everybody."

Roethlisberger said it remained that way until backup quarterback Charlie Batch pulled him aside before the 2008 season for a heart-to-heart talk.

"Some things were easy to hear and some things were tough to hear," Roethlisberger said on "E:60." "Charlie helped me to become a good teammate and friend to a lot of these guys."

Batch declined comment on Roethlisberger's situation yesterday.

Roethlisberger started to make an effort to spend more time with his teammates, especially his offensive line. He has taken the linemen on many excursions, including in September when he hosted WWE's "Monday Night Raw" in Wilkes-Barre.

"I think it made a big difference," Roethlisberger said.

After the conversation with Batch in 2008, Roethlisberger has been playing his best football.

He led the team to its second Super Bowl victory just months after Batch's intervention and has followed that with a record-breaking first half of this season. He was named a Steelers' co-captain for a second consecutive year.

In leading the Steelers to a 6-2 record, Roethlisberger has thrown for 2,295 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has completed 70.6 percent of his passes. He is on pace to become the first Steelers quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a season.

"The biggest thing is that he opened up to everybody," Keisel said.

Added Farrior: "I think he's matured over the years, and I think it's come full circle. You can tell that he cares about everybody on the team. Now, he's a great teammate."

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
11-12-2009, 09:34 AM
I don't think this is any surprise. When Ben came here...This team had a different personality in the locker room. This team had veteran leaders in place. Guys like Porter, Farrior, Bettis, Faneca, and Ward. This was a defensive team that ran the football. Ben was the young gun who had alot put on his plate early because of the injury to Maddox. Cowher had his fingerprint on this team and Ben's production on the field was the only
thing that brought evolution to the offense. The QB has to come to the front to lead. It was just more difficult for a young guy who started early and had veteran leaders on both sides of the ball entrenched. Combined with the fact it was a winning franchise made it even more difficult. As he gained the respect of his teammates on the field...He assumed the role of leader of this team. I truely feel that even if guys like Faneca & Porter were still here...This still would be Ben's team. Actions speak...Ben earned it.

stlrz d
11-12-2009, 09:52 AM
It's just like what Farrior said...we are now seeing the maturing process of Ben. The car accident changed him and now the civil suit is changing him. Those things, along with his continued maturation on the field and mastery of the offense, are shaping him into a guy who is truly getting it.

This guy has a few more rings in his future.

RuthlessBurgher
11-12-2009, 10:26 AM
On some teams, the offense and defense are two completely separate units that rarely interact with one another except for on the practice field (they watch film separately and hang out separately). I think the fact that our QB and DE are best friends shows that this is a team as a whole. The offense supports the defense and the defense supports the offense. There does not seem to be any delineation there. They are all Steeler teammates.

SteelAbility
11-12-2009, 11:20 AM
Nice article! But I thought Ben was just a drama queen. :roll: Or was that just some tool over on SN that claimed that? Can't remember. Or was it teeceemad-as-hell? :evil:

proudpittsburgher
11-12-2009, 11:43 AM
for those who haven't seen it . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4kyadviN88

Sorry, the embed code was diasabled, so it's a link you will get. :)

BDESteel
11-13-2009, 11:59 AM
You see! I remember getting banned last year because I said Ben was arrogant. Boy, the hoopla that started.

I know many people here have had love for Ben from the beginning. It took me a lot longer to come around because I saw some things from Ben that probably had to do with his attitude towards his teammates and life in general that led me to feel the way I DID.

I'm just glad he's had an epiphany and we are well on our way to a Bengal azz whoopin and yet another SB.

:tt1 :tt1