Montana offers advice to Ben
PITTSBURGH ? As a four-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame
quarterback, Joe Montana knows a little bit about what Steelers'
quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going through on a daily basis.
Coming off a record-setting rookie year in which he guided the
Steelers to the AFC Championship game, winning 13-straight regular
season games along the way, Roethlisberger is hot property. Fans
always want a piece of him. The media always wants to talk to him.
Pretty celebrities want to date him.
Montana, who played 16 seasons in the NFL for San Francisco and
Kansas City, said former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh gave him a piece
of advice early in his career that helped him when it all got to be
"It's tough on him right now," said Montana of Roethlisberger. "The
toughest thing is one of the things Bill Walsh told me after my first
Super Bowl. He would say, "The less people see you, the more they
want you." He was just trying to tell me I was doing too much and to
cut back and things will take their own course. You can't let what's
happening outside of football control you from doing what you did
normally to get ready for the season."
Roethlisberger and Steelers are currently at St. Vincent College in
Latrobe preparing for the 2005 season. The 49-year-old Montana,
meanwhile, was in Pittsburgh as part of a seminar devoted to raising
awareness for high blood pressure, an illness Montana was diagnosed
with in 2002. Montana said Roethlisberger has the correct mind frame
when it comes to questions about his second year in the NFL. Many
have said Roethlisberger is a prime candidate for a sophomore slump,
but Montana isn't buying that.
"He just has to not listen to what other people are saying," said
Montana. "I hear one guy told him that everybody's expecting it. Why
should he expect a down year? Maybe the media expects it, but he
should never expect it. (The media) is putting things in a guy's
mind, he could say, `I'm supposed to have a down year because those
guys said so.' Some people might think that way. I don't know him
well enough, I just hope he doesn't think that."
But how should Roethlisberger, who threw 10 interceptions in his
final five games last season, including five in two playoff contests,
"All he needs to do is do what he did last year," Montana said. "He
doesn't need to do any more and certainly not any less. If he just
plays as steady as he did, he won't have anything to worry about.
Times will come when he'll feel like he needs to step it up. A time
will come in a game when he'll need to every now and then. But
typically he can just go out and play at the level he's used to
If it sounds as if Montana has kept a keen eye on Roethlisberger's
progress, it's because he has. Even though he still lives in the San
Francisco area and has basically been away from Western Pennsylvania
since leaving to play college football at Notre Dame in the mid-'70s,
Montana can't get away from his roots.
"I still live out there and I'm happy I played there, but I grew up a
Steelers fan," he said. "I'm still a Steelers fan. I keep an eye on
the 49ers, but a lot of things have changed there. The ownership is
completely different. Also, I like to see what's going on in Kansas
City because I was part of that organization. But I always keep my
eyes on Pittsburgh."
Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter