While I was off doing my thing Ben finally reported to practice and started to get into some things. This is nothing but a good thing for both the Steelers and the team. Sure things are going to be a circus but what do you expect? Ben went through something that was kind of a big deal and he came through it. Sometimes in life it is not what happens but how you react to it.
Ben took the field on Tuesday for some OTA's and was working mainly with the first team. The first few days he had nothing to say and then he finally broke his silence today when he came over and made some statements and took a brief number of questions. Here is exactly what Ben said:
Roethlisberger: "I appreciate it guys. I know you guys have been waiting for a long time to talk to me as I have to you. I just wanted to make a quick, let you guys know how good it is to be back on the field. It's been a long time away, it's been hard but I put a long time and effort and working hard both on and off the field while I've been gone. It's not the same, I love football to death. But I think it's meant more to be out here with my teammates, my brothers, my family, if you will. So that's what has really been neat about being back out here.
"I've put a lot of thought into my life, decisions that I've made in the past that I've been sitting at home thinking about things. I've been working closely with the commissioner on ways to make changes, corrections. So, I'm looking forward to the second chance and a second opportunity, not just in football because I think everyone knows what you're going to get in football, but in life. I think that's what's kind of more important.
"Like I said I'm happy to be back out here, even kind of happy to see you guys again. So, maybe I'll take a question or two."
Q: You got a lot of public support from your teammates; do you see this as a new beginning?
Roethlisberger: "Yeah, it's been great to read and hear from those guys, not just text messages and calls they send to me but to read the things in the media they said. So I say it's great to be out here with my brothers because they really are family to me. Like I said, I spent a lot of time evaluating and looking at my life both on and off the field. I think this is time for me to kind of close the chapter of the last couple years of my life and move on to a new one, kind of a new start. I'm kind of really excited about it."
Q: What kind of changes are you talking about that you want to make?
Roethlisberger: "A lot of them are personal things, you know, which is just something that I need to do. But it's been neat being able to really re-evaluate my life and spend time with my family and kind of re-evaluate and re-figure what's important in my life. That's me ... evaluating what I need to do and be smarter when it comes to certain things. Like I said it's a new chapter and I'm looking forward to it and it starts with football. I'm glad to be back here ... I'll be talking to you guys a lot more."
Goodell suspended Roethlisberger for the first six games of the season but said he would reduce it to four if the quarterback follows a path the commissioner has laid out for him. Goodell took the action based on a sexual assault claim by a woman in Georgia in the early morning hours of March 5. Authorities did not charge Roethlisberger with a crime and the woman later asked them not to pursue a case against him.
I think it was very good that Ben just came over and even spoke to the media. If you watched the interview he was smiling and looked like he genuinely wanted to talk to them and get some things "off his chest". The interview was broken up by the Steelers PR guy which is what you figured was going to happen. I mean you can't expect Ben to talk about it with legal implications still possible so I was ok with the short statement.
A few days before Ben's teammates were talking very highly of him and pretty much saying that the media was being a little bit hard on him. That is kinda true and kinda not. There is no denying he was in the wrong in some sort but there was a lot of heresay and stuff so nobody but Ben is ever going to know (since the girl was way to drunk to even talk that night).
Dennis Dixon spoke on Ben and said that "Honestly, I could see a lot of anxiety -- a lot of it, but then again, once you get out there and play one play, it's back to football."
You can see that. After what Ben was accused of you can see how he might be nervous to come back. The sooner he gets all that "hey I am back and I know this is a circus" stuff out of the way the better. His teammates need him and he now, more than ever, needs the team. Ben needs to earn that trust more than he ever has. There have been talks about rifts with the team before and I am sure that is true. Not ever guy in the locker room is going to like everyone else, but being the leader of this team he needs to smooth over a lot of BS that is going on.
Beyond this there are some rumors that Ben wants to get a national TV sit down in before training camp. Now this is just speculation at this point but I think this is a great idea for Ben. He has to sit down and talk about this sometime. It is inevitable. It would be better for him to sit down with a major TV person (Larry King and Oprah have been mentioned) than for him to have a press conference. With a TV interview he has a chance to form the interview in a way that might be more suitable for his liking. Plus not many TV talking heads are as ruthless as the media. The media can kill a person up there in an interview. If he wants to briefly talk here and there with the media then break everything out with a TV personality I think that would be a great idea.
Ben was running a lot with the first team. Nothing wrong with that. Ben is this teams starting QB and when he comes back from his suspention then he will be the QB, no matter where the Steelers are at. This guy is too good. DD has been runing second team offense, which is strange since it was pretty much understood that Leftwich was this teams QB but it is still really early. Ben will be back and if you think that Leftwich should start if they are 3-1 then there is something wrong. I can understand where people say that you stick with the winner at the time. That is ok but when you think about it there is a real he didn't play in Tampa Bay. He didn't play for a team that was terrible, to say the least. Ben wins Super Bowls. Period.
A lot has been talked about Ben, a lot bad, some good. You might as well get with the idea that Ben is going to be a Steeler. He will get over this. Would you have rathered him killed some guy because he was drunk? Didn't think so. Doesn't mean Ben has made bad decisions, can't deny it, but every single one of you have too. Who knows, he might surprise us.