Roethlisberger apologizes in interview
Updated: June 10, 2010, 5:32 PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- A contrite Ben Roethlisberger says he got caught up in being a caricature called Big Ben, not the grounded player and person he once was, leading to his off-field problems -- and affecting his play as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback.
In his first detailed interviews since a Georgia college student accused him of sexually assaulting her in a nightclub bathroom on March 5, Roethlisberger told Pittsburgh TV stations KDKA and WTAE that he expects to be booed this season.
He also apologized extensively for his actions and promised to become the role model he should have been throughout his career.
"I got caught up being Big Ben the whole time. I lost track of who Ben Roethlisberger was. It's not something I'm proud of," he told WTAE. "I've made mistakes, I know I have."
For the first time, Roethlisberger said that living a role rather than living a life may have affected him on the field, too. The Steelers went 9-7 and missed the playoffs last season, one season after winning the Super Bowl.
"I've wanted to apologize to them [fans] for so many things. For being immature, for being dumb, for being young, for not knowing any better," he told WTAE. "For getting caught up in everything that was thrown my way. ... In my heart, I know I haven't been the best person, the best quarterback for the Steelers, I'm not talking just on the field, I'm talking off the field."
Roethlisberger is especially sorry that his behavior hurt and saddened his parents, sister and other family members. His sister, Carlee, was a member of Oklahoma's women's basketball Final Four team, yet she told reporters he did not attend one of her games last season.
Because lawyers did not permit the questions to be asked, the two-time Super Bowl winner gave no details about the Milledgeville, Ga., nightclub incident that resulted in his six-game suspension by the NFL. But he said his family members know what happened. His father and mother now live in Pittsburgh, moving from Findlay, Ohio, where Roethlisberger grew up.
"They knew the story, they know what happened but you still hear things in the media, see things, and that's been one of the hardest parts for them -- to read these things about their son or grandson or nephew," Roethlisberger said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press