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Old 03-04-2007, 08:31 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, March 4, 2007


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Go ahead and say he stunk in some games last season.
Blame him for the Steelers not making the playoffs a year after they rampaged through them.

But question his dedication, and that's when Ben Roethlisberger starts firing back.

That's when he talks about how he signed a couple of football helmets in exchange for a free gym pass so he could work out last week while he was in Las Vegas.

Or how he calls Bruce Arians almost daily with a question even though the new Steelers offensive coordinator has told Roethlisberger the playbook he has been studying is only a first draft.

Challenge the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl to become an elite quarterback, as first-year Steelers coach Mike Tomlin almost certainly did when the two had dinner recently, but don't raise eyebrows or doubts over his assertion that he is willing to do what it takes to succeed.

"Other than my family, there's nothing I care more about than what I do," Roethlisberger said. "I want to be the best that's ever played this game, and I know I'm far from it because of the way I've been playing."

Roethlisberger had the dubious distinction of throwing more interceptions (23) than any NFL quarterback in 2006. Tomlin brought in a new quarterbacks coach (Ken Anderson) and later said in regard to Roethlisberger, "He's got to roll up his sleeves and come to work every day and be willing to do the drudgery that's required to be great, and I know he'll be capable of doing that."

Connect the dots, starting with Roethlisberger's regression, and it's not hard to see why a perception has emerged that the Steelers' franchise quarterback needs to be nudged, if not pushed, toward greatness.

He appeared to be on a path toward that before a well-documented detour nearly cost him his career and even his life.

The motorcycle accident that happened last June and the impact it had on Roethlisberger's third NFL season recently became a hot topic of discussion.

Former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said at the NFL Scouting Combine that the trauma Roethlisberger experienced from the accident, which required him to have major facial surgery, may have affected him on the field.

He experienced more trauma right before the season when he had an emergency appendectomy. He also was knocked out of an Oct. 22 game with a concussion.

Asked about the cumulative effect of everything that happened to him, Roethlisberger said, "It's hard for even me to say. I never really felt like I was afraid to really get hit; maybe after the appendectomy a little bit because my stomach hurt, I didn't want to get hit in the stomach. But I don't feel like I was ever timid or too afraid to be out there playing."

Roethlisberger said he is sure he couldn't have done anything more to overcome all of the medical travails he experienced last season. He spent so much time in the weight room following the appendectomy and concussion that his backup, Charlie Batch, said to him at one point, "Ben, are you going to burn yourself out? You're lifting too much."

The approach he took to get back in 2006 is the same one he is taking to getting back on track.

Instead of taking several months off after the season as he had done in the past, Roethlisberger said he started his offseason workouts in the second week of January.

While he hasn't been throwing so he can rest his arm, Roethlisberger said he has been lifting weights, doing extensive cardiovascular work and pool exercises and studying the playbook that Arians has been putting together.

The key to Roethlisberger having a big -- and redeeming -- season in 2007 may lie in him taking a more relaxed approach.

"Since winning the Super Bowl, he's put more pressure on himself," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said.

Ward's advice to his quarterback: Don't put everything on your shoulders, broad as they may be.

"Sometimes put the pressure on me to make a play for you," Ward said. "Throw it and let me be the guy that makes the catch, chew out your offensive line if they don't block someone right. Don't feel like you have to go out and single-handedly win the game."

During a break from "ESPN The Weekend" at Walt Disney World's MGM Studios last Friday, Roethlisberger conceded he has to reconcile his quest for greatness with not running too hard after it.

"At times (in 2006), I did feel like I was trying to be too good, trying to be perfect, if you will, instead of just being me," Roethlisberger said.

While usually as guarded with his comments as he was at Disney (Roethlisberger was accompanied by bodyguards to various activities), he spoke freely on his 25th birthday about a number of things, including how the adversity he experienced over the last year has changed him.

"I laugh a lot more, I'm more relaxed, smiling," Roethlisberger said. "I can still get upset at times, but I think I'm a calmer person."

That new perspective has not doused his desire, Roethlisberger said, which is why he takes criticism over his work ethic so personally.

And those who question how serious he is about leading the team that is sacred to Western Pennsylvania and beyond?

"They're crazy," Roethlisberger said.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_496042.html
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

This is good to hear. I hope he is serious. I would very much like to see the Ben of '04 & '05 return and lead this team in '07.
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Old 03-04-2007, 10:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

It sounds to me like he took what Cook said a little personally. I'm glad he should be able to use that as motivation.
And i do think he does try and do to much. He cant make a reciver catch a ball and he can't make the line block. HE only has to do his part and hope that the team is strong enough to do his.
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"It seems every year there is some reason they are trying to doubt me. Small school, I was playing as a rookie and now this. I?m looking forward to proving to people that I?m up to the task."
~Ben Roethlisberger~

He's ready, Steelers fans. His ordeal over, his return will be complete come Saturday in Arizona, when football again becomes the focus and a career briefly interrupted resumes.
~SI aticle 2006~
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

It is a positive story but this throwaway line caught my eye.

That's when he talks about how he signed a couple of football helmets in exchange for a free gym pass so he could work out last week while he was in Las Vegas.

So did Ben have the extra helmets in his gym bag or did they happen to have them at the check-in counter at the gym?

Given the going rate for that sort of sports memorabilia, if Ben signed 2 football helmets for a gym pass I hope it was for a lifetime pass or that the "gym" had an open bar and a casino. Otherwise, that claim, which was never explained later in the story, may just add to Ben's reputation for making statements that are only casually related to the truth.
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
It is a positive story but this throwaway line caught my eye.

That's when he talks about how he signed a couple of football helmets in exchange for a free gym pass so he could work out last week while he was in Las Vegas.

So did Ben have the extra helmets in his gym bag or did they happen to have them at the check-in counter at the gym?

Given the going rate for that sort of sports memorabilia, if Ben signed 2 football helmets for a gym pass I hope it was for a lifetime pass or that the "gym" had an open bar and a casino. Otherwise, that claim, which was never explained later in the story, may just add to Ben's reputation for making statements that are only casually related to the truth.
lol.

its possible gym mgmt knew before hand that ben was gonna be working out there and told all the $10/hr employees to clear out the rif raf and autograph seekers. they probably had the helmets in hand, and when ben offered to pay they told him not to worry about it.

then again, are they sure it wasnt his motorcycle helmets?

i think the gameplan will no longer be tailored to limit bens throws. i bet tomlin wants a qb who can throw more than 30 times a game sometimes without the interceptions and win. in fact, the steelers may even throw the ball if they have a lead.
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

That's my boy!!! Get out there and prove them all wrong, Ben....you do it soooo well!
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 03-04-2007, 01:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

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Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
So did Ben have the extra helmets in his gym bag or did they happen to have them at the check-in counter at the gym?


WHATS IN YOUR WALLET?

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Old 03-04-2007, 01:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

Till big Ben starts working out with his recievers, there will not be that big of an inprovement.
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Old 03-04-2007, 02:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
It is a positive story but this throwaway line caught my eye.

That's when he talks about how he signed a couple of football helmets in exchange for a free gym pass so he could work out last week while he was in Las Vegas.

So did Ben have the extra helmets in his gym bag or did they happen to have them at the check-in counter at the gym?

Given the going rate for that sort of sports memorabilia, if Ben signed 2 football helmets for a gym pass I hope it was for a lifetime pass or that the "gym" had an open bar and a casino. Otherwise, that claim, which was never explained later in the story, may just add to Ben's reputation for making statements that are only casually related to the truth.

Sounds to me like you just dont trust what young
Ben is sayin' to be the truth.... just my opinion. Has he ever given
you reason to not trust what the man is sayin'?
The people that are givin' up on our franchise QB can just find
someone else to root for in my opinion because if you dont
believe in him then you have given up all hope for our
team as well..
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Old 03-04-2007, 02:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Big Ben takes steps to regain top form

Big Ben has gotten on my nerves over the last few months. I think his interviews suck, all the rumors of talking to the coach and doing whatever, are all a waste of ink and time. He already knows what he needs to do just like everyone else does. The question is, will he. Peyton Manning is one of the most sound football players i have ever seen. And he still gets baffled on occasion. So if Mr Roethlisberger thinks he can jerk it in the off seasons and think he can just improve by "talking" to the coach, he is dumber then I thought he was. He already cost his team its focus in 2006 and that followed the demise of Bill Cowher.

I may be wrong about this, but i think alot of why Cowher left was he knew finally that he was no longer #1 on the steelers. Bettis was Mr Steeler for 10 years but Bettis didn't have the personality of me me me. Big Ben does and Bill figured since Big Ben brought the Steelers a title, there is finally someone that is unexpedable on the team over him.

All in closing, all I would like is the guy to not waste his talent. His talent says he can be one of the greats. So if you have the arm, height, body and skill to do it, then its time to mentality get in the game and show that you arent Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer...
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