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mesaSteeler
06-18-2012, 11:27 PM
It's work and then play for Big Ben
June 19, 2012 12:04 am

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A mighty challenge awaited Ben Roethlisberger when he stepped onto the Seneca Valley High School football field Monday for his fourth annual camp.

There were 500 youths in front of him all expecting the same thing: To catch a pass from the Steelers quarterback.

Roethlisberger laughed when he heard the plan, but he obliged.

"I did it last year just because I thought it would be fun," Roethlisberger explained. "I got told when I got here that the kids were looking forward to it, so I've got to do it again.

"I need to go get loose."

The fatigue will wear off quickly.

When the two-day camp wraps up today, Roethlisberger will head to the airport to embark on a 10-day golfing trip to Ireland and Scotland. The trip was a gift from his wife, Ashley, for his 30th birthday.

The first item on the itinerary is breakfast at the home of Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, in Dublin.

Then, Roethlisberger and a couple golfing buddies will hit the links for 12 rounds in 10 days -- three days in Ireland and a week in Scotland. Roethlisberger, a 3 handicap, is a member at The Club in Nevillewood, Treesdale Golf & Country Club and New Castle Country Club. But in Europe he'll be playing in what he called the "Mecca of golf" -- places such as Kildare Hotel & Golf Club in Ireland (K Club) and the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland.

"It's going to be neat," Roethlisberger said. "I've never been to Ireland or Scotland, so to go over there and see where golf kind of started is going to be awesome."

The outing might be something of a last hurrah for Roethlisberger, who will soon be taking up daddy duties. He and Ashley announced last week that they are expecting a baby boy by the end of the year.

Big Ben remains tight-lipped about when to expect he will become Big Daddy, but he admitted that he's relishing the kids camp even more now that he has his own child on the way.

"I can't wait," Roethlisberger said. "It'll be a little while til my son's out here doing this, but it puts a perspective on these kids.

"Maybe these guys get me prepared for [fatherhood], because it takes a lot of patience and yet it's fun."

Roethlisberger was joined by dozens of coaches and ProCamps staffers to run the fourth edition of the Ben Roethlisberger Football Camp, geared toward boys and girls ages 7 to 14.

Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel also helped out, much to the delight of the youngsters. Keisel spent his time at Seneca Valley rushing the quarterback just as he does at Heinz Field, although these quarterbacks barely topped four feet in height.

The youths were divided into three groups -- Trojans, RedHawks and Steelers -- to represent Roethlisberger's high school, college and professional teams.

The coaches rotated groups through various offensive drills, starting with passing and route-running, while Roethlisberger dealt with more pressing matters -- like throwing 500 passes.

"ProCamps does such an awesome job," Roethlisberger said. "They make life easy. They make it to the point that I wouldn't have to be here, I wouldn't have to do anything. I [could] just put my name on it and they could run it and be great.

"But I want to be here for every minute of it because I believe in what we do and I believe in the kids."
Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2193 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.
First Published June 19, 2012 12:00 am

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