PDA

View Full Version : What happens first


siss
08-25-2006, 12:35 AM
Friday, August 25, 2006


By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ben Roethlisberger lollygags through the Saint Vincent College campus, often with an iPod attached to his repaired head, in no rush to get to lunch, nor to return to the dorm or the locker room or the practice field.

That's deceptive because this 24-year-old is in a rush to go where no quarterback has ever gone, even if he already has been there.

"I don't talk about my goals, but they are cranked up a little bit," Roethlisberger said as he prepared for the Steelers' third exhibition game at 8 p.m. today in Philadelphia. "I got a little ahead of schedule by winning a Super Bowl."

Just a tad. It wasn't enough that he became the first quarterback to have a 13-0 record as a starter and that he did it as a rookie. He followed by becoming the youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl at age 23. No quarterback in the game's history had such success in his first two years as a pro.

What's left? Survive a near deadly motorcycle accident and go on to win a second Super Bowl eight months later?

"I hope a lot's left," Roethlisberger said, pausing in the final days of training camp in Latrobe. "I would love to accomplish a lot. I would love to get more rings than any other quarterback in the history of the league. I'd love to be the greatest to ever play the game. That's an awesome goal."

They play only one major in pro football, yet Roethlisberger has a chance to become his sport's Tiger Woods. He's only 24 and he's 1 for 2, yet he also has a long way to go. Terry Bradshaw won his first Super Bowl in his fifth season. He won his fourth in his 11th season. He retired after his 16th without appearing in another. Two quarterbacks each won four Super Bowls: Bradshaw and Joe Montana, both with Pittsburgh connections.

Roethlisberger wants to outdo both. Kordell Stewart once said such things, too, topping it with his infamous prediction that he was headed for the Hall of Fame. But Roethlisberger can at least back up such goals by having already achieved some.

"My expectations are definitely high," he said. "For some reason -- heaven forbid -- I lost two or three games in a row, people are going to forget everything good that we've done, that I've done. But I won't."

Never mind lose two or three in a row, he's barely lost that in total since he was thrust into the lineup in the second game of 2004. He's 27-4, counting playoffs, in two seasons.

He wants more, but something occurred this summer that reminded him things can go up in smoke in a matter of seconds.

"You never know," Roethlisberger said, veering back 21/2 months to that ugly June 12, when his motorcycle and head were lying mangled on Second Avenue in Pittsburgh. "Like the accident, every play can be your last play. And that's something I've really come to appreciate, that every play could be my last one."

The accident that broke his jaw, his nose, an orbital bone and some teeth, changed him. He shed 15 pounds, not an unwelcome byproduct but surely not a weight-loss program he recommends. It's not the physical changes that he believes will have the most lasting effect on him.

"I'm thankful to be alive," Roethlisberger said. "Most people who know me say I'm smiling a lot more than I ever did. It seems like I'm having a lot more fun than I've ever had."

He signs one or two of his Nike shoes after many practices and gives them away to fans or sick children. He seemed to have more time to talk to reporters than he did in training camp last year, when the same reporters -- and coaches -- talked about how poorly he was playing. He attributes the new outlook to the accident, not that he's any more easygoing on the playing field.

"People say, 'Why do you still get mad on the field?' Well, I get mad because I set my bar of excellence high. But once I step off the field, if you watch me on the sideline, I'm laughing with Hines [Ward], and we're having a good time."

The accident "really has done that. It has made me realize how lucky I am and how blessed I am to be alive. Every day, I wake up and say thank you for being able to be here. I've always been thankful I've been able to play the game, but now I'm thankful to be alive. To be able to do this again just adds appreciation to it."

Who knows? He might never do it again, but history shows that quarterbacks who get off to fast starts rarely turn bad, and no one else has gotten off to such a fast start. His third training camp has been his best.

"Based on what you saw in the spring, he was making a tremendous amount of strides as far as his understanding of the offense and what he wanted to do," coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. "After everything that happened, you worried about where he would be when he came back into training camp. It seems to me he's back in that same place. He knows what he wants to do, he's paying attention to the details and he's performing on the field."

The motorcycle accident always will be part of his resume, but it's quickly fading as an issue because of his performance. Not that it won't have some lasting effect.

"When I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror, I said holy cow, what just happened?" Roethlisberger said of his time in the hospital. "Football was so far down on the list as important things."

But, as he healed, he also heard people doubting how quickly -- or whether -- he could return to play and remain good at it.

"Once people started saying I couldn't do it," Roethlisberger said, "that motivated me more."

Haiku_Dirtt
08-25-2006, 02:13 AM
He now thinks about it. Ben is on the fast track...as a QB and as a man.

Focused. Damn aren't we all soooooooo lucky.

clevestinks
08-25-2006, 03:50 AM
Folks we are blessed. Thank you Ben!

crcsnail
08-25-2006, 04:48 AM
yay lets go ben
one for any other finger apart from our DODGY thumbs lol

nicesteel4life
08-25-2006, 08:05 AM
GREAT READ about a Great Player. I truly think that he matured HUGE.
It's Great that this story is having a happy ending, not many do walk away from a accident like he had. But he is BEN, The free spirit.....

siss
08-25-2006, 10:13 AM
You ever get then feeling that we are watching history unfold right before our very eyes an e are just the fns blessed enough to have him on our team.

This is why I say that Ben is god's gift to Steeler fans!

stlrtruck
08-25-2006, 10:26 AM
It makes you wonder what The Chief and GOD talk about during the off-season! Because I can imagine what the talk is about starting in late July:

Chief: Hey, God, training camp is about to open up
God: Yeah, Art, I know. This year I'm going to change things up a bit. Give your boys a few challenges to over come.
Chief: Didn't we over come the Tommy Maddox episode? What about the INT reversal in Indy? Wasn't that enough?
God: I thought those were challenges but the team responded to quick. I want to give them something more.
Chief: Like what?
God: Ben's going to wreck his motorcycle and be in surgery for almost 8 hours.
Chief: WHAT?
God: Yeah, let's see how he handles the critics and the media after this
Chief: I'll bet you another SB ring, he'll pass with flying colors
God: You're on.
Chief: Steelers Nation could get use to this...be careful
God: They deserve it.

siss
08-25-2006, 10:44 AM
How about th conversation they had when Ben was drafted.

Chief: We need a new Quarterback. Tommy isnt doing it for us.
God: I like that Ben Roethlisberger from Miami of Ohio
Chief: Ben is good. But what about that Manning kid?
God: Trust me Ben will be better
Chief: Really?
God: I hand picked him for the steelers. He will bring you a couple of Super Bowls!
Chief: Be careful with Steeler fans, there getting restless after 25 years of no rings.
God: Trust me when you Ben throw you'll know what I mean.


God and chief at Ben pro day

Chief: Wow!
God : Told you so!

Lyn
08-25-2006, 11:01 AM
I hope his thumb feels better :)

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-25-2006, 11:03 AM
How about th conversation they had when Ben was drafted.

Chief: We need a new Quarterback. Tommy isnt doing it for us.
God: I like that Ben Roethlisberger from Miami of Ohio
Chief: Ben is good. But what about that Manning kid?
God: Trust me Ben will be better
Chief: Really?
God: I hand picked him for the steelers. He will bring you a couple of Super Bowls!
Chief: Be careful with Steeler fans, there getting restless after 25 years of no rings.
God: Trust me when you Ben throw you'll know what I mean.


God and chief at Ben pro day

Chief: Wow!
God : Told you so!

..and then God said "Besides...I still owe you guys for that Jeremy Stevens thing..sorry"

siss
08-25-2006, 01:41 PM
I hope his thumb feels better :)

On the other hand if he plays better with a broken thumb, I could help him that!