View Full Version : No words of wisdom from Steelers' Roethlisberger

06-02-2010, 12:28 AM
No words of wisdom from Steelers' Roethlisberger
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Local TV sent their varsity news reporters, the NFL Network sent a good-sized wedding party, and judging by the swollen media queued up on cell phones on the short perimeter of the South Side lawns, the Golf Channel, MTV and C-SPAN might have been there as well.

Wait, wasn't that one of the Real Housewives of Orange County?

Lotta people wanted to talk to No. 7 Tuesday after Steelers practice, but 7 wasn't talkin'.

No, for all of that intense interest, 7 wasn't made available.

So now we know how the Milledgeville police felt.

"There were a lot more cameras snapping," tackle Max Starks observed when asked what it was like to have the starting quarterback in the huddle again. "Usually we can hear the birds out here. Today, I couldn't hear the birds."

With 7 not talking and head coach Mike Tomlin bolting for an early appointment, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians not talking and quarterback-in-waiting Byron Leftwich away for a previously arranged commitment, no one was actually hearing much of anything.

It didn't exactly make you want to zip home to see a very special partial-access edition of "NFL Total Access."

By now you've surely seen the obligatory B-roll, the video of 7 whipping some fluttery passes to white-jerseyed wideouts whose OTA mission was nothing more or less than anyone else's: They were just trying to make it to Latrobe without getting stepped on by Trai Essex.

Still, somebody had to say something for the record, something fully audible beyond 7's familiar guttural signal calling ("Black 20, Black 20!"), and naturally much attention turned to the always-willing Antwaan Randle El.

Repatriated from Washington and out of 7's sphere now for four years, Randle El has walked effectively into a volcano and allowed Tuesday that it's "a tricky situation."

Tricky, he said, for the coaches, "who have to keep Ben getting reps, keep Byron getting reps; it is a tough situation."

That's really the part no one's getting. Not so much the who practices what and how much, but the degree of difficulty involved in having the starting quarterback suspended until at least Oct. 17.

The question you seem to hear most in this town starts with this borderline-ridiculous premise, "If the Steelers are 4-0 when ..."

Wait, 4-0?

This team lost five of its last eight a year ago, including a trio of losses on a mercy tour of the truly hopeless: Kansas City, Oakland, Cleveland. That was with a fully functional Super Bowl quarterback.

When the 2010 regular season starts Sept. 12 at home against Atlanta, 7 will have split for Suspensionville again. Also, you'll remember, No. 10, Tweety Pie Holmes, will have long since split for New York. The chances, therefore, of Tomlin's team starting 4-0 are remarkably like the chances of making a 7-10 split.

Even with promising arrangement of facing three of the league's worst defenses on a merciful schedule's front end -- Atlanta's ranked 21st last year, Tennessee's 28th and Tampa Bay's 27th -- the likelihood of getting to the other side of Baltimore's third-ranked defense with no losses is awfully slight.

"And even at that," Randle El said, "I don't think there's going to be any controversy. Two Super Bowl rings and everything else he's been able to do speaks for itself."

That is, of course, the answer to the full question. When 7 is sprung from Goodell's doghouse, 7 will play.

Between then and now, Leftwich and Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon, who'll wear Holmes' hand-me-down No. 10, will go through three months of posturing for the honor of keeping the driver's seat warm.

"I don't think it's going to be difficult," Dixon said evenly Tuesday. "We have three guys who are proven quarterbacks and great guys. It's a profession but you've got to have fun in the process, and I feel like I'm doing that."

No one should forget that Dixon was forced to start against Baltimore during that five-game losing streak, forced to start against the best team the Steelers faced in that stretch, and came as close or closer to winning than 7 did in the four others.

In the meantime, there will be further questions, as Starks explained.

"Everyone's always going to have questions; this is Pittsburgh, you can't move an inch without someone asking a question. Whoever takes that [quarterback] spot at the beginning of the season, we'll block for him just like we did for Ben."


Good thing Leftwich wasn't around to hear that.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10153/10 ... z0pfPRS6Az (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10153/1062381-66.stm#ixzz0pfPRS6Az)