Bires: Steelers situation may get worse
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... worse.html
Monday March 29, 2010 11:41 PM
PITTSBURGH — What a surreal site it was at Steelers headquarters as a media horde assembled to see if beleaguered star Ben Roethlisberger would show up for a voluntary off-season conditioning workout.
ESPN and the NFL Network dispatched reporters and camera crews to Pittsburgh. KDKA, WTAE and WPXI had news reporters on hand.
In all, around 30 journalists were there.
And no sooner than it was determined that Roethlisberger hadn’t sneaked in through the back door, news broke that Santonio Holmes, too, has legal issues of his own.
How terribly embarrassing it is for this proud franchise. Its reputation is being soiled by the two stars of their Super Bowl XLIII victory.
The quarterback has been accused of sexual assault for the second time in less than a year. The wide receiver who caught the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl victory is being sued by a women from Florida for battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
It’s the fourth time Holmes’ name has appeared in the police blotter since the Steelers drafted him four years ago.
“I’ve never seen so many people (from the media) here at this time of year,” Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith said as he entered the media room.
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With Roethlisberger and Holmes not among the Steelers who worked out, the team’s communications department convinced Smith to speak to the media. Someone had to say something about the Steelers’ troubled state of affairs.
So it was Smith, one of the most reputable players on the team, who had to step in front of the media mass and answer questions that had nothing to do with football.
To his credit, Smith did his best to answer all the questions posed to him under difficult circumstances.
Today, maybe another Steeler or two will be asked to address similar questions regarding Roethlisberger and Holmes’ legal problems.
Of course, what matters most is how will Roethlisberger and Holmes be received by their teammates when they do finally show up for an off-season workout or practice.
Will the rest of the Steelers still trust and respect these two stars who obviously have serious character flaws?
These are indeed serious times for the Steelers. Unfortunately, things could get a lot uglier before they get better.
Mike Bires can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org