After a 2pm team meeting, Ben took the podium to make a short statement and to answer questions from reporters:

“First off, it’s good to be back here, at the Facility, especially with my teammates…to get to see coaches and be around my teammates. I’m just excited to get back and get focused on football, and focus on this year and try to get to Dallas.”

On what he learned the last few weeks –

“I hate being away from football. How much you appreciate meetings and practice and being around the guys and just being away from them mostly.”

On watching the Steelers games away from the field –

“I have no fingernails left! It was hard, it really was. To watch them at home…I was on the edge of my chair, trying to keep busy, watching, standing up, sitting down. It was tough but it was fun watching them win.”

On what he did to stay in “game ready” shape –

“I worked out a lot. I worked out for 2-2 1/2 hours – longer than I would be if I was out here practicing. I threw more balls that I would have if I was here.  I just really stayed  focused with George, my quarterback coach, and worked on footwork techniques, throwing, stuff like that….worked on my routine, my cardio.”

On whether staying away from his teammates was the most difficult part –

“One of the hardest parts.  I mean obviously I love football, I missed that more than anything. But to be away from my guys, my brothers, my family, that was one of the hardest parts and that’s what made coming here today so great.  I think every single one of the guys came and gave me a big hug, and I was so happy to see them and I think they were happy to see me as well.”

On coming back to a team that is 3-1 –

“I think there is a lot of great chemistry on this team right now. They’re playing great football – offense, defense, special teams…from what I’ve been able to watch. I’m not coming in and trying to be anything more than what I am, just trying to be helpful and be a teammate and do everything I can to help this team win football games. Like I said, I think they are off to a great start. I just want to contribute and to try and win games.”

On whether he will be ready to play after the bye week –

“I want to play this week. That’s the other hard part, I want to be out there right away. But if you look at it like that, it’s good to have two weeks of practice to get out there. My arm is ready, I’m not worried about my arm.  The biggest thing is refreshing my mind with the offense and getting timing down with the guys. It seems like Mike Wallace has gotten faster, so I have to get used to that again. I’m just so excited to get back out there tomorrow and be out on the football field with them again.”

On what he expects the reception to be like with the fans at Heinz Field –

“I have no idea. If I see people out in public, it’s been a lot of warm embraces, a lot of ‘can’t wait to get you back’ and ‘keep your head up’ –  so there has been a lot of very positive feedback from the fans. I would hope there is going to be some encouraging cheers and some good things…I hope.”

On not being selected as a team captain this season –

“Yeah, you know what, I wasn’t around for the first four games so it’s something that those guys voted on. Obviously that is an awesome honor, to be voted as a captain of this team with the rich tradition it has here at the captain position, and with football players in general.  But that is something you have to earn and I’ll come out and give them the best I can. Just because you are not a captain doesn’t mean you can’t give it all you’ve got.”

On how the suspension changed him as far as being on the field –

“It makes you appreciate football and being around the guys. I’m just going to give it my all to come out and do the best I can.”

On how this experience has changed him off the field –

“I think it brings you back to your roots, it doesn’t make you a new person as much it takes you back to who you want to be and who you were raised to be.”

On what he thinks of the job that both Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch did in his absence –

“Great job. I was their biggest supporter. I was their No. 1 fan, I was rooting for them. Unfortunately, obviously when Dennis got hurt…you never like to see a guy,  especially a guy you spend so much time with, get injured. But I knew Charlie would be able to step up and do exactly what he did and that’s what makes him the professional he is. He was playing good football which I always knew that he could.”

On what fans can expect of the Steelers going forward –

“I’ve been saying for years now that I think we need to be a balanced team, so I’m not trying to throw the ball 60-70 times a game. Obviously, as a quarterback, you would like that. But if we’re balanced and run and throw and do the things that we need to do effectively, we can be a dangerous football team.”

On what he thinks the “final chapter” is –

“For me, getting back out on the field will be the big test. That is what I am most excited for and getting back out there. I think the people of Pittsburgh and Steelers fans around the world know that football is my passion and I want to get out there and show them that.”

You can watch the video of his press conference here.