View Full Version : Big Ben shows up at ESPYs

07-13-2006, 06:12 AM
Surprise: Big Ben shows up at ESPYs
Thursday, July 13, 2006

By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

LOS ANGELES -- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made his first public appearance last night since his June motorcycle accident.

Roethlisberger attended ESPN's ESPY awards show at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood and left little doubt he will be ready to lead the Steelers in their Super Bowl defense.

Roethlisberger looked healthy and happy when he made a surprise appearance at the end of the show, which was taped last night but will not be shown on ESPN until Sunday night.

The Steelers won the award for the "Best Team," and coach Bill Cowher, along with a number of players -- Joey Porter, Jerome Bettis, Ike Taylor, Antwaan Randle El (who has since signed with Washington), Hines Ward -- took the stage. Bettis took the microphone and introduced Roethlisberger, who received a standing ovation as he walked across the stage.

Roethlisberger addressed the audience briefly, saying that he understands how fortunate he is, that he regrets his decision to ride a motorcycle without a helmet and that he will learn from the incident and put it behind him.

After the show, Bettis said it was great to see Roethlisberger back in public because there has been so much discussion about the accident.

"It was important for Ben to be out there because he was a big part of our success," Bettis said. "But he's also a big part of our future. He is going to be leading this football team for a lot of years to come.

"I think everybody who watches will be so happy to see him, to see him speak and to see how good he is feeling and just knowing he is not limping or anything like I that, I think everybody will be happy."

Cowher, who has been fairly quiet on the issue of Roethlisberger's accident and also won the "Best Coach Award," echoed Bettis' sentiments.

He said the fact that Roethlisberger walked out on stage and publicly spoke about the accident is a good indication that he is ready to get on with his life. And, even though Roethlisberger ignored Cowher's warnings about the dangers of riding without a helmet, Cowher's approach has been that sometimes life is the best teacher and there is nothing he needs to say that Roethlisberger doesn't already know.

"These are all like my kids, we are like a family and what he went through was very scary for a lot of people," Cowher said. "He is a very fortunate and lucky young man, and he's the first -- as he said tonight -- to acknowledge that. Sometimes, you just have to learn, and the good news is he is back. Those things all have a way of putting things back in their proper perspective.

"I think people need to understand -- nobody needs to say anything to Ben, he understands and he knows what he needs to do. At the same token, I told him, he is a good person and he is a free-spirited kid and he plays the football game that way and I don't want that to change. There is a fine line with the way you have to live your life, but sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way. Those are the best lessons we can learn in life sometimes.

"The bottom line is, he is very fortunate and now he'll be a great mentor for others. Anyone who is a parent understands that sometimes kids are free-spirited and they are young and those aren't always bad qualities, particularly on the football field."

Actor Mark Wahlberg, one of the presenters, poked some fun at Roethlisberger. Before he announced the "Best Team" award, he looked out into the crowd and said to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, "Teams are about rising up together, not one individual riding around on his motorcycle in the offseason. Dwyane -- don't you get any ideas about riding a motorcycle without a helmet."

While Cowher celebrated Roethlisberger's recovery, the team must continue to sort through the legal troubles of first-round draft choice Santonio Holmes, who has been arrested twice since he was drafted, including his most recent arrest on charges of domestic violence.

Porter, Ward and Bettis all believe that Holmes will have some choices to make once he gets into the fold, but they are confident that they can take him under their wing and lead him down the right path. Cowher said he hasn't talked much with Holmes about his legal problems, but he said they are a concern.

"I haven't had a chance to talk with him, but I do know we are under scrutiny, we are in the public eye and with that comes a responsibility," Cowher said. "And you better be ready to accept that responsibility. Certainly, there are circumstances that happen, but you have to make sure you don't put yourself into it and you learn from it. Hopefully, he will learn from them because that's the kind of scrutiny you don't want.

"Hopefully, he'll understand that and learn from that because this is not the kind of attention we want."

Porter is confident neither incident will have a lingering affect on the team, and he believes they have been blown somewhat out of proportion because the Steelers' status as reigning Super Bowl champions .

"That all comes with the territory. When you are the champs, a lot of people pay a whole lot more attention to you," Porter said. "It is something that we know is going to be there all year, it is something that we are going to have to deal with. All eyes are on us, but that's what it is when you are the champs.

"And Ben is a big guy, he will be bounce back," Porter said. "I'm sure he's happy to get through it for the most part healthy. The big thing is I think he's learned from his mistake. It is something that happened, it was unfortunate but now he just needs to make sure he moves on."

Porter has not spoken to Holmes, but said there is no reason to write the rookie off as a bad apple because he hasn't had a chance to join the team and benefit from the many positive influences in the Steelers' locker room.

He said there is always a learning process for a rookie, especially one who is a first-round draft pick and he's confident that once he gets started in his career he'll make better choices than he has in the past six months.

Ward agreed.

"Trust me, once we get him in the fold, we'll get him headed in the right direction," Ward said.

"These are some unfortunate situations, but there is a way we do things [in the Steelers' locker room] and we'll teach him. He is a great talent and he can really help us, so just need to get the other stuff worked out."

07-13-2006, 06:50 AM
Damn its good to see him!!!!!

I cant wait to see him on the field!!!!!

07-13-2006, 09:46 AM
Damn I was at the Kodak Theatre three weeks to early. But during the tour I walk the same hall! Cool

07-13-2006, 09:48 AM
Best team award...best coach award.....not bad!!!!

07-13-2006, 09:50 AM
Where is the best fans award! After this season of filling stadiums at away games with terrible towels, everyone now knows, but hates to admit, that we have the best fans