SOUTH SIDE (KDKA) – Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spent much of Father’s Day at the team’s practice facility on the South Side.

About 480 children participated in Roethlisberger’s Youth Football Fantasy Experience.

“If I can influence one kid, it’s mission accomplished,” says Roethlisberger.

The children who participated got a chance to test their football skills, learn more about good sportsmanship and mingle with a few Steelers players.

Roethlisberger says he never got a chance to go to a camp like this one when he was younger, so that’s one of the reasons why the camp is so important to him.

“Number one mission, have fun,” says Roethlisberger. “Teach a little football along the way… but really just come out here and have some fun. Teach them a little bit, and really just enjoy the sport that has meant so much to me and to the city.”

Boys and girls from 1st through 8th grade were placed in small groups to maximize their one-on-one time with the experts. They went through drills and got some personalized tips.

“I just want to thank the Steelers for allowing us to be here,” says Roethlisberger. “It’s awesome to be able to use this facility, and the kids get to experience what we experience. Maurkice Pouncey is out here, we were talking about it earlier that… this is exactly what we go through. This is exactly where we practice, so it’s fun for them.”

Pittsburgh is a city that Roethlisberger has grown to love over the years. It’s home for him and his family.

“I am truly blessed to be here in this city, to be a part of an organization that is so awesome and amazing,” says Roethlisberger. “From the owners to the fans, to the city, this is home for us and it just means so much to be here.”

As for Roethlisberger’s own personal inspiration, both in life and in football, “Fittingly, my father,” he says. “I consider [him] to be one of my best friends and my role model… I’m happy and blessed to have him out here with us.”

Each child who participated in Sunday’s camp received a limited-edition Nike gear package, a photo with Roethlisberger and an autographed souvenir.

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