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Old 01-17-2009, 02:34 PM   #1
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Default Drama Queen? No, Big Ben is Royally Tough

I get SO sick and tired of the perception that Ben is an unlikable person, a drama queen, arrogant, etc. I've met and talked with Ben, and found him to be a shy, friendly, down-to-earth person who is genuinely interested in what other people have to say. In every press conference, he's the first to shoulder blame for losses and deflect credit for wins onto his teammates. Coach Cowher didn't like him talking about injuries, and Cowher's often contradictory comments about those injuries went a long way toward furthering the "drama queen" perception. And because Ben occasionally calls out the media (usually deservedly) on something they've reported, suddenly he's arrogant and not likable? Well, here's a news flash: most NFL players are profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfiltery and arrogant to some degree; how can you get that far and not have some level of arrogance? I can't help but think that if Ben looked like Tom Brady, people would be admiring his brashness and toughness, but because he's kind of a regular Joe, not glamorous or headline-seeking, instead they pick on him for having the nerve to think he's something special. Which we all know he is. GRRRRRRR - makes me SO mad.

Drama queen? No, Big Ben is royally tough
Jan. 14, 2009
By Mike Freeman National Columnist

Early in the season a player in the AFC told me he thought Ben Roethlisberger was a drama queen.

Then, later in the season, Monday Night Football's Tony Kornheiser said during a broadcast he was told that some in the Pittsburgh media believed Roethlisberger was a drama queen. That was followed by Matt Hasselbeck's exchange during a visit to a middle school in the Seattle area. He jokingly called Roethlisberger a girl.

But you got the feeling he really wasn't joking.

Recently former receiver Keyshawn Johnson said Roethlisberger was a "bit of a drama queen." And Key knows drama queens.

All this evidence in hand, I was prepared to bury Roethlisberger as a preening debutante, the Susan Lucci of football.

Then I came to my senses and am posing this question:

Why do so many people outside of Steelersville seem to hate Roethlisberger so much?

He might be one of the more disliked players in football and much of the venom is coming from other players (or former players).

Players almost always defend other players, particularly when it comes to the notion of toughness. I'm not sure if some realize how big a deal it is for a player to basically call another one the "P" word.

Indeed, I was prepared to bury Roethlisberger. Then came news from a Pittsburgh newspaper about the injury Roethlisberger suffered in the regular season finale. When he was hit by two Cleveland defenders simultaneously, Roethlisberger suffered a spinal cord concussion.

The diagnosis sounded familiar. I've covered players who suffered from those injuries before and they've told me it's extremely frightening and dangerous. One mentioned he lost the sensation in his extremities for hours.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, players who've had this injury in the past have been severely debilitated. In 2002 former Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Maddox also had a spinal cord concussion and he temporarily lost all feeling in his hands and legs and missed two games.

In September, Baltimore safety Dawan Landry suffered the same injury as Roethlisberger. He was put on injured reserve and missed the season.

Roethlisberger had the injury and came back strong, yet he's called a drama queen.

The injury Roethlisberger sustained is a big deal and the notion that he's dramatic is growing a tad nonsensical and tiresome.

"Ben's a damn tough guy," defensive end Brett Keisel told the Post-Gazette. "He's one of the biggest competitors in this locker room. Anytime anyone goes down and someone's poking their fingers and they can't feel it, that's scary. Anytime you get numbness and things like that you have to take every precaution ..."

Here's an interesting stat: Roethlisberger has been sacked a startling 139 times over three regular seasons, which is almost three sacks a game. While some of that is Roethlisberger's fault because he holds on to the football for extended seconds, he's still missed just two starts in some three seasons, with one coming in a meaningless season finale and the other a season opener following an appendectomy. So, in effect, he's really only missed one start.

There are a lot of quarterbacks who'd sign up for that sort of queen-ness.

In fact Carson Palmer should call Roethlisberger "Your Majesty."

Yet his drama queen reputation isn't solely the fault of media members or players. Part of the blame falls on the Steelers themselves. The reputation actually began when former coach Bill Cowher contradicted Roethlisberger's statement that he had broken toes after losing to New England in the AFC title game during Roethlisberger's rookie year.

The fact he really isn't a drama queen doesn't mean Roethlisberger is easy to like. He's c0cky and arrogant. He's Captain Smirk. Roethlisberger is always the first one in the locker room to tell the media, "I told you so."

His occasional obnoxiousness, and lack of motorcycle expertise aside, Roethlisberger is the AFC equivalent of Donovan McNabb. We might not appreciate how good he is until his career is long over.

Roethlisberger is tied with Tom Brady for the most victories by a starting quarterback in his first five seasons with 57. He's on the verge of a second Super Bowl appearance. That's not too shabby.

He's a bigger version of Terry Bradshaw, except you don't have to spot him the "C" and the "A."

And you don't have to spot him the 'D' and the 'R' for drama, either.
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