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Old 02-02-2011, 06:27 AM   #1
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Default Perrotto: Perception of Roethlisberger has improved

Perrotto: Perception of Roethlisberger has improved
By: John Perrotto
Beaver County Times

Wednesday February 2, 2011 12:10 AM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ben Roethlisberger has always been quick on his feet.

Few quarterbacks in the NFL are better at making something out of nothing than the man who has led the Steelers to two Super Bowl victories in his seven-year career and will try to make it three Sunday.

Not surprisingly, multiple members of the Packers defense are talking about how important it is to keep Roethlisberger in the pocket, keep him in check because of the way he can turn potentially broken plays into big gains either with his arm or leg.

Roethlisberger was quick on his feet in another way Tuesday at the annual Super Bowl media day.

Knowing he would be the focus of journalists from around the world, along with a good number of goofs who were posing as media members, in the aftermath of spending the first four games of this season on NFL-mandated suspension for violating the league’s code of personal conduct, Roethlisberger made a preemptive strike.

Roethlisberger emerged on the floor of Cowboys Stadium with a camcorder in his hand, filming the media who were filming him as he walked to his interview station. Once he sat down at his chair on a riser, he continued to keep the camera rolling with a big smile on his face.

It wasn’t the smirk that Roethlisberger wore in the past, when it was clear he would rather be kicked by the cattle grazing along the highway between Dallas and Arlington than talk to the media. Instead, Roethlisberger’s smile totally disarmed the reporters and kept the questions to a minimum about the night last March in Milledgeville, Ga., when he was accused, though eventually not charged, with sexual assault.

Whenever questions about the assault, suspension or his reputation came up, Roethlisberger handled them with aplomb.

That had to be a big relief to Burt Lauten, the Steelers’ public relations/media manager and graduate of Riverside High School, who served as Roethlisberger’s wingman throughout the hour-long interview session.

Perhaps Roethlisberger’s answers were rehearsed. Maybe the Steelers coached him to avoid any controversy. However, Roethlisberger seemed genuine with his answers.

When asked how he would like to be perceived, he replied: “People ask you what you want (written) on your tombstone. I think just for somebody to say that he’s a good person, a God-fearing person that was loyal to his family, put God first, enjoyed playing the game of football and just lived every day like it was his last.”

And to the follow-up question about he feel he is perceived: “I don’t know. I just try to go out and enjoy life and do the best I can to be the best person I can be, the best son and Christian and everything like that.”

It is entirely too early to tell if Roethlisberger is truly a changed man. Touchdown passes and playoff victories do not equate to personal redemption.

Though Roethlisberger reportedly became engaged at Christmastime, less than a year has passed since that night in Georgia. We shall see if he can stay out of trouble once the off-season begins next week and he has much more free time.

To his credit, though, Roethlisberger is at least now cognizant of how he wants to be perceived and that is certainly a step in the right direction.
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