View Full Version : Harris: Time for Ben to rebuild image

10-06-2010, 12:11 AM
Harris: Time for Ben to rebuild image
By John Harris
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

He's back. And not a moment too soon.

Never before has so much time and attention been devoted to an athlete who had absolutely nothing to do with his team's surprising 3-1 start.

Benmania -- catch it!

There will be television cameras whirring nonstop at the Steelers' compound this week. Grown men and women jostling for prime interview position and the right to report that Ben Roethlisberger is excited to be back and ready to make amends the first chance he gets Oct. 17 against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.


Up in the sky!

It's a bird!

It's a plane!

No. It's a Sky Cam helicopter circling the Steelers practice field in search of No. 7.

The endless hype signaling Roethlisberger's official return to the team Monday helps explains why coach Mike Tomlin was extra surly following Sunday's 17-14 loss to Baltimore.

Asked about Roethlisberger riding in on a white horse to save the Steelers' season despite the team boasting the NFL's No. 5 defense, Tomlin sounded like he was on his way to a colonoscopy.

"We'll see him (Monday)," Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger not only has the opportunity to rebuild his tarnished reputation, he can become a positive example for others -- particularly impressionable young fans -- in how to turn your life around when faced with adversity.

It won't take much. Some 300-yard passing games, a couple of game-winning touchdown passes and -- voila! -- Roethlisberger's reputation will be as good as new.

It worked for Michael Vick, it can work for Roethlisberger.

Despite his legion of apologists who insist he was railroaded by commissioner Roger Goodell, Roethlisberger deserved to be suspended because he failed to uphold the standard of conduct expected from a franchise quarterback and one of the faces of the league.

The argument that other players were arrested and didn't receive a four-game suspension like Roethlisberger (who wasn't arrested), and this creates an unfair double-standard, is ridiculous. It's like me arguing that I was stopped for driving 75 mph on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when other cars driving even faster weren't stopped by state police. I shouldn't have been speeding in the first place.

Roethlisberger now has two weeks to reunite with his teammates and prepare for Cleveland. He'll be a welcome addition to an offense that has relied heavily on running back Rashard Mendenhall and averages only 136 passing yards a game.

"Nothing like having a full arsenal," Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden said.

Through four games, Hines Ward has 10 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. Do defenses have Ward's number, or does he miss the comfort level he developed with Roethlisberger? We'll soon find out.

Roethlisberger takes over an offense that made a strange call late in the fourth quarter against the Ravens while attempting to compensate for his absence.

Facing third and 10 at the Steelers' 3, quarterback Charlie Batch handed off to Mendenhall on what is normally a passing down. The play was designed for Mendenhall to run left despite him gaining most of his important yards on the right side.

Mendenhall was stopped for no gain.

Had he been playing, it's doubtful Roethlisberger would have given in so easily. He probably would have changed the play.

Now that Roethlisberger is back, can the offense be far behind?

His much-anticipated return gives the Steelers' attack a full complement of options on first, second and third down.

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

10-06-2010, 01:25 AM
Geez, from reading this, it seems the reporter is indicting Ben. No matter, once he starts lighting up defenses and making the offense relevant again, people will forget and cheer him on. Vick is being cheered, in Philly of all places, and what he did was truly horrendous. People love you when you win. Lose, and you're in trouble.