PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Don’t ask Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about long term plans in the NFL. That’s not to say he won’t be around for a while, but he’s only focusing on this season.
Ben created quite a stir in his final appearance on “The Cook and Poni Show” on 93-7 The Fan last year, when he hinted he might not return. But, he is back and ready to go to battle with his team this year.
Today, he returned to the show, but still won’t commit long-term.
“I want to focus on this year. I’m going to give everything I have to this year,” Roethlisberger said. “If I’m going to definitely say I’m going to be here in three years, well, then I’m cheating and I’m giving myself a timeline. I want to be right here, right now giving everything I have to this and when I’m done, I’ll know that I’m done.”
One of the reasons for not thinking too far into the future is the ongoing CTE problem in the NFL.
“I think you have to be knowledgeable about the situation, understand that it’s a real thing. That’s why I’ve been so outspoken about – I’m not afraid or ashamed to tell a doctor or someone that something’s not right and I don’t think anybody should be. You can blow out your knee, you can have a lot of replacements and all these things, but you can’t get your brain replaced. It just can’t happen,” Roethlisberger said in an interview with KDKA-TV’s Bob Pompeani.
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While he would like to play long enough for his kids to understand what he does, a particular conversation with his wife sticks out in his mind.
“I said to [my wife], ‘I want to play until my kids really understand and know what I did.’ She said, ‘That sounds great and everything and I love it, but don’t forget you want to remember your kids, you want to know your kids,’” Roethlisberger said.
Meanwhile, the big story for the team has shifted to Le’Veon Bell not being at camp yet. Ben said there are some reasons why he is concerned and why he isn’t. There are team-building activities and new elements of the offense being put in and even though he knows Le’Veon is in great shape and working hard, there is something different about being in playing shape.
“Even when he comes back, there is a transition or a curve of getting back into football shape,” Roethlisberger said. “You can’t simulate football shape on your own.”
Roethlisberger seems to echo the comments made by head coach Mike Tomlin that he would prefer to have him in camp already, but can’t worry about it until he does.
“While I’m at practice, I can’t sit there and worry about Le’Veon is doing” Roethlisberger said. “Would I like him to be here? Absolutely, but I need to worry about myself and getting our guys ready.”
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Roethlisberger said he has made two attempts to reach out to Bell thus far via text – once before camp and once when camp opened, but he has yet to hear back from him.
One guy who has returned is wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for all of the 2016 season. Roethlisberger said it was good to see him back because it means he is doing good things on and off the field.
“Being on the field means he is taking care of himself,” Roethlisberger said. “It was good seeing him out there. He did some really good stuff.”
Bryant’s return is one more reason the Steelers are aiming to put up 30 points a game this season. But, Roethlisberger said he needs to be better in order for that to happen.
“I hope so. We’ve been close, we’ve been knocking on the door, but there’s just a couple more steps we need to take. We need to be a little bit better in the red zone, we need to not turn the ball over and that starts with me. I need to be better and if I play better football then those goals are attainable,” Roethlisberger said.
Bryant is one of many weapons that Ben will have in his arsenal for this season, which means the Steleers will have some hard decisions to make.
“I’m very lucky and very blessed,” Roethlisberger said. “We have a lot of weapons. It’s a good and bad problem. It’s a great competition thing, but the bad is someone is not going to be here.”
Ben will be back all season long on the “#1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show,” which will once again air Tuesdays at 11 a.m. during the season with Cook and Poni on 93-7 The Fan. The show debuts on Tuesday, Sept. 5.