“You want to do it now, not because I feel I’m older. I feel great. I feel I’m playing well. My arm is great. I feel like we’ve got a great team.”

From Ed Bouchette’s interview with Ben today Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

072615At 33, Roethlisberger said he and his arm are in tip-top shape and that he is surrounded with perhaps the best talent he’s ever had from offensive line to Antonio Brown and his receivers and Le’Veon Bell at halfback.

“That group in front of me is as good as any in the league, and as good as any I’ve ever had. It’s great.

“Then you look at outside receiver. AB is as good as anybody in this league and arguably one of the greatest that I’ve played with. Just all around on offense, we have just a special group. It has a chance to be really good.

“There are a lot of young guys, kind of the unknown other than AB. But they have as much potential and talent from top to bottom as we’ve had here in a long time. To me the sky is the limit for them.”

While they may need more production on offense to overcome some defensive shortcomings that dropped them to a 21st-century low of 18th in the NFL in yards allowed, Roethlisberger believes they will improve as well.

“I feel they’re going to take what happened last year to heart. I know there’s some change there with coach [Keith] Butler and coach [Dick] LeBeau being gone and some new guys. But they’re really starting to come along. They’re a fast, physical group. It’ll be neat to see what they do this year.

You can read what else Ben had to say here.

Photo courtesy of Teresa Varley.

Ben also did a 1 on 1 interview with Mark Kaboly at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

When the Ravens’ Haloti Ngata broke Ben Roethlisberger’s nose with a chop to the face, Roethlisberger refused to come out of the game and didn’t miss a play despite a severely displaced septum and blood dripping down his face.
When Roethlisberger got his bell rung in last year’s playoff game against the Ravens, he missed three plays before returning to the field in a game that’s outcome had already been decided.

There is a legitimate reason why Roethlisberger refuses to leave work early under virtually any circumstance. He prides himself on being a tough guy.

Or as he called it: a Pittsburgh guy.

“I want to give it all to those fans because that’s what they do,” Roethlisberger told Trib Total Media on Sunday before the Steelers’ first practice of training camp at St. Vincent College. “If these guys are in the mines or working in the steel mills or wherever, if they break a finger, they aren’t going home. I feel like I want to be the same.”

Roethlisberger paused, then said, “I always wanted to be a Pittsburgh guy — that guy.”

A dozen years after the Steelers used a first-round pick on Roethlisberger, he considers himself a Pittsburgher and has adopted the city as his own.

No more Ohio Ben. It is more like Pittsburgh Ben.

“I want the fans and the people of Pittsburgh to embrace me as a Pittsburgher,” Roethlisberger said. “I am not the California surfer-type. I love the city and love the people, and hopefully they see me as a blue-collar Pittsburgh guy because that’s how I want to play the game.”

You can read the rest of his interview here.

And the best way to end the first day of camp:

Steelers Nation Unite member Ted Webb shared these photos from the autograph signing that took place after practice for SNU members.