Reporting Bob Pompeani
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — KDKA’s Bob Pompeani had an exclusive interview with Ben Roethlisberger.
One of the topics of discussion was the future of Mike Wallace.
“A lot of it’s not on Mike, you know, it’s upstairs,” Roethlisberger said. “So, I did. I was saying something to Mike every day. I’m like, ‘Mike, I’m going to keep texting you every day until you come back.’
“And, you know, I love Mike to death, and Mike’s an awesome kid. He’s a great character guy, great football player, obviously. That speaks for itself, but we need Mike back. I want Mike back and I know a lot of people here want Mike back and I know Mike wants to be back here.”
The Steelers want Roethlisberger to be here for a long time too which was the basis of Art Rooney II’s opinion that he tweak his style.
“I sat down and talked with Mr. Rooney, you know, and I never got upset with the comments he made and it was blown way out of proportion, you know, and so for me, I went up and talked to Mr. Rooney about a lot of different things,” Roethlisberger said.
“And when he said tweak, he just meant he wanted me to stay healthy, you know, and it’s my job to do what I can to stay healthy. And I agree with him. I want to stay healthy. I don’t want to be hurt. Last year was miserable at the end of the year with my ankle and thumb and shoulder and stuff like that.
“So, I agree. I needed to tweak a little bit of things here and there to stay healthy.”
Because he wasn’t healthy back in San Francisco last season, Ben told KDKA-TV if he had to do it all over again, he would not have played in that loss to the 49ers.
“I think I may have been healthier later on if I hadn’t,” he explained. “Not that I really did anything to make it worse, but just to get in that extra week of rest probably would have been better for me, but you know, that’s what hindsight is, right? You go back on a lot of things and say it, but I always want to be out there competing for my guys.”
Bob Pompeani: “That was a game that had a lot of significance to it…”
Roethlisberger: “It did. That was one of the main reasons we were out there. The night before, Baltimore lost, I think and it gave us a shot to jump back on top, so I wanted to be out there and I didn’t want to hurt the team and I told the coach, I said, ‘Listen. If you guys don’t want me out there, you make the final decision, because I want to be out there.’”
After his release from the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning was out there as a free agent and finally signing a huge deal with Denver.
Roethlisberger was watching with interest as the situation played out.
“It’ll be interesting for me,” he said. “I want to see how he does in the elements because he’s been in a dome for so long and it’s glorious – there’s no wind, it’s 70 degrees, it’s perfect, you know? So, to see him outside will be the biggest thing that I want to see.”
The second part of that move was the subsequent trade of Tim Tebow to the New York Jets which Roethlisberger says might ultimately undermine Mark Sanchez.
Bob Pompeani: “Does that work in this day and age?”
Roethlisberger: “I mean, the whole thing of having a press conference for a backup quarterback, you know, and … I don’t think it does because if you’re a team or a coach or an owner that has a quarterback that’s already set – and I think Sanchez is their guy, they just gave him an extension, I mean he is their guy – you don’t want to bring this mania in because at the first sign of any trouble, a bad game, they’re going to start – they’re going to be chanting for Tebow. And that’s tough – it’s going to be tough for Sanchez. I feel bad for him because it’s not going to be easy.”