— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) July 29, 2016
Excerpts from Ben’s Q&A at Steelers.com:
Q: You’ve said you’ll play until the Good Lord or Mr. Rooney tell you that you no longer can. Can you envision a scenario in which another factor forces you to decide when it’s time to retire?
A: “I hope not. I love being out here. I love playing the game with the guys. I feel great, and as long as I can stay healthy and feel that I’m playing at a high level; I don’t want to force myself to play if I’m not playing at a high level and playing the way I feel I’m capable of playing. Hopefully I have a bunch of years left.”
Q: Is there a particular physical trait that you’ll use as a barometer as to what level of play you are or are not capable of attaining?
A: “I feel like that would be the Good Lord telling me I couldn’t do something. Honestly, I’m sure there will be something when the time comes. But I feel like I can throw the ball as far or farther than I could before. I feel like I have enough zip on balls. I feel like I can still move. Obviously, I’m not going to be able to run like I did when I was a rookie but I feel like I can still move enough to get out of trouble and make things happen.
“I’m sure there might be something like that but I feel like it’s far enough away that I can’t think of anything.”
Q: So you’re anticipating playing another four or five years, playing on for multiple seasons?
A: “I know it’s going to end at some point. But you know that light at the end of the tunnel? I know I can see it but it’s not real close in my mind.
“In this game, you’re one play away so who knows what can happen? I don’t want to look for the end because then I’m cheating the here and now and this season. So I’m going to focus on this season. I know my goal is to keep playing but if this is my last season then I’m going to give it everything I have.”
Q: What has allowed you to develop and mature as a quarterback?
A: “Just growth as a person. Having kids, as crazy as it sounds, dealing with the kids at home. I’ve often joked that having three now, having a crying baby at home, it’s helped me blocked out the Ravens fans and the Browns fans. It’s really easy to drown them out now because I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s nothing, it’s background noise.’ Just having a life like that, as crazy as it sounds, has helped me in football, as well.”
Q: You developed a reputation for keeping plays alive early in your career. What’s your signature now?
A: “I still think it’s the same thing. It may not happen as often, but for me it was always about, ‘I just can’t quit. If a guy’s got me, I don’t want him to have me. He’s got my jersey, I’m not going down because there are plays to be made.’ I just don’t want to quit on a play.”
Q: Are you as capable now of beating defenses methodically as you are with a big-play?
A: “For sure, and that’s what I think we’ve done. (Quarterbacks coach) Randy (Fichtner) keeps all these crazy stats, and last year I either led the league or was like top two in the league in quickness of the ball out of my hand. But that’s part of our team and our offense. We’re still going to take our shots because our line is really good and they can hold up for big-shot, chunk plays. But I also know that there are times that the ball has to come out quick because A.B. (Antonio Brown) has a step on someone at the line of scrimmage and you get him the ball as quick as you can because he’s going to do something special with it, or Le’Veon, or whoever it is.”
You can read more here.
— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) July 29, 2016
From an interview with Mark Kaboly at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
The Steelers don’t like the Bengals, and the Bengals don’t like the Steelers.
That was clearly established last year when the two teams combined for well over $200,000 in fines during their last two meetings, including the Steelers’ wild-card playoff win at Paul Brown Stadium.
Animosity, however, shouldn’t be associated with dirty play.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on Friday during a one-on-one interview with the Tribune-Review that he’s tired of the cheap and dirty play that littered the rivalry a year ago.
“I think it can get out of control and it did at times,” Roethlisberger said. “I am out there and you see all the stuff going on under the piles. It is one thing to talk a little trash and another thing to say some of the things that are being said. The referees have to keep it under control, but we as players have to be better and go play on both sides.”
There were numerous fights between players; there were fines, suspensions, accusations, trash talking and coaches getting into altercations that overshadowed what has turned into one of the best rivalries in the league.
Roethlisberger wants it to morph now into a clean rivalry.
“I want it to be a good, clean rivalry,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t want it to be a rivalry where people are tuning in to see a fight, to see penalties.”
Roethlisberger said he would like to see the rivalry reach the level of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry of the past decade.
“(Those games were as) physical as a rivalry and as physical as a football game that you would ever see,” Roethlisberger said. “Everybody knew that. But it was never dirty. There may have been some pushing and shoving, but that’s just guys. You never worried about cheap and dirty-type stuff.
“I want the Cincinnati rivalry to be the same tough and physical rival that people want to see tough, physical football. You don’t want to see cheap and dirty. I don’t want it get to that.”
You can read more here.
— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) July 29, 2016
From an interview with Ed Bouchette at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The Steelers quarterback threw the second-most interceptions of his career last season. While he would prefer to throw none, the intent that led to some of them was honorable, he feels.
“I think just almost taking more chances, not being afraid to make the play,” he reasoned. “I think that’s the way our offense is right now. Our offense is potentially a dangerous offense. We were top three the last few years. We have a lot of weapons.”
Roethlisberger threw 16 interceptions, even though he missed four full games. He threw just nine in 2014 when he played every game. The only time he threw more was his third season, when he was picked off 23 times.
Favre led the league three times in interceptions and topped 20 in six seasons, with a high of 29. He had 336 passes picked off in his career with a 3.3 interception percent. Roethlisberger has thrown 147 interceptions with a 2.7 rate. Favre will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next Saturday.
“It’s almost like you take the gunslinger mentality if you will,” Roethlisberger said of an aggressiveness that can lead to an interception. “I’m going to go out and throw the ball around. You don’t want to turn it over, but sometimes you have to take chances, and, with the players we have, I’m not opposed to taking chances.
“You never want to turn the ball over. That drives me crazy, but I’m also not going to be afraid to take chances. It’s a calculated risk. I think you have to do that.”
Roethlisberger touched on other topics during an interview with the Post-Gazette Friday morning. Among them:
• His arm is as strong as ever, and he feels he is in tip-top condition after concentrating on cardio and arm exercises this year and not as much on strength training. He missed four full games because of a left knee injury.
“I feel great. I don’t know if it’s the extra work I put in or that injuries were able to heal better. I’m trying to prolong my career if I can.”
He said he missed more receivers in spring practices overthrowing them deep, which is a good sign of a strong arm.
• Roethlisberger acknowledged that this is the best offensive line he has had and credited coach Mike Munchak for part of it.
“With no disrespect to anybody else, I think, as a unit, they’re something special. Once again, no disrespect to any coaches, either. Munch is as part of that as anything.”
• He predicts an improvement on defense.
“I do. What I’ve seen in [the spring], they are a defense that’s flying around. They’re all over the place. I’m excited to see what some of these young guys can do.”
• He hopes his season No. 13 can be a fortunate one.
“I hope so, I really do. It’s amazing how fast it goes.
You can read more here.
— #SteelersCamp (@steelers) July 29, 2016
And also from Mr. Bouchette:
Despite losing one star wide receiver for the entire season and possibly his former All-Pro running back for the first four games, Ben Roethlisberger said today that the Steelers offense can be “as good as we want to be.”
Roethlisberger told the Post-Gazette Friday that he believes Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates and other wide receivers can make up for the loss of Bryant, who was suspended for 2016 because of multiple failed drug tests.
Roethlisberger, however, has not spoken to Bryant in a while, although he has tried to reach out to him since his second suspension. Roethlisberger talked to Bryant on a daily basis when he was suspended for the first four games of last season.
“Obviously the Martavis thing was very disappointing, especially all the time and effort and love I put into him, we all did. We all feel a little let down from that.”
The quarterback took it personally because Bryant was not truthful with him.
“We talked a lot, every day during his suspension we talked. And then, when [the second suspension] happened, we talked, as soon as the news broke I kind of asked him what happened. He said some things that were just kind of disappointing.”
Roethlisberger said Bryant lied to him, both before the suspension was announced and after.
“I just think the approach, the denial of everything. Looking me in my eye and denying everything, it’s tough. It disappoints you as a man and a guy who cared so much about him. I obviously care a lot about him as a person and a football player.”
Roethlisberger said he has given up trying to talk to Bryant after he did not return messages, so he will leave it up to the receiver to make contact.
“I kind of put it on his plate. I would love to talk to him, but I have to let him make the move, he needs to reach out to me because I’ve tried and done those things. I’m not trying to be rude or mean, but I think he needs to do that, like grow up and reach out and talk to me, anybody. I know he talks to Markus [Wheaton].
“The potential that he had, both on and off the field and you feel for him as a person first, just what he’s going through and get your life right and those kinds of things, that’s first and foremost. But, on the football field, the talent that he had, the sky’s the limit. He had and has more potential than a lot of guys you’ve seen. Just the things he is able to do, opening it up for [Antonio Brown]. Opening it up for guys in the middle. He is a legit threat out there. So that was very disappointing.”
You can read more here.
— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) July 29, 2016