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Big Ben Says He Will Be Ready Day 1 of Camp


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This article definitely has 1 piecie of great news for Steelers fans, and 2 pieces of bad news:


Great News: Ben is healthy and feels he won't miss a snap of camp


Bad News: Ben has tried to call Holmes for support and left messages, which have not been returned.

Bad News: Ben still doesn't get it, and says he may again ride a motorcycle, and may again do so

without a helme. :D






Roethlisberger is healthy and eager to put on a helmet again -- a Steelers helmet

Friday, July 14, 2006


By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press

With his hat askew yesterday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident last month, waits to tee off on the ninth hole of the American Century Championship Celeb-AM Tournament played at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Click photo for larger image.



Photojournal: Big Ben's back












STATELINE, Nev. -- There is a small dot of blood in Ben Roethlisberger's left eyeball and scar above his right eyebrow.


His face is ever so slightly swollen, and there are a couple of scars around his knees.


Those are the only visible and physical remnants from his June motorcycle accident, which is amazing given the severity of the collision and the fact that he was not wearing a helmet. The depths of the emotional scars from the accident are much harder to gauge, but Roethlisberger said his recovery in that area has gone just as well, if not better, than his physical recovery.


Roethlisberger's motorcycle collided with a car, and he flew headfirst into the car's windshield and rolled over its hood and onto the street. He had surgery to repair several fractures in his face and spent several days in the hospital.


He began his rehabilitation almost as soon as he was released.


Now he's happy and healthy again, so much so that he said he won't miss a beat or day of training camp, which starts late this month. This week, he has made his first public appearances since the accident, first at the ESPYs Wednesday night in Los Angeles then yesterday for a practice round of the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf event at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nev.


Roethlisberger was escorted yesterday by two large body guards and a county sheriff, but he was mobbed by fans and well-wishers seeking autographs as he walked off the course. He graciously signed the autographs and even posed for some photos before retiring to the driving range where he worked on his driver. He was treated almost like a rock star and drew the biggest galleries of just about anyone except perhaps Charles Barkley.


He said he felt it was important for him to go to the ESPYs and then participate in the golf event, which runs through Sunday because it was time for him to put the accident behind him and get back to his normal life. He said the reaction he has gotten from most people is that of surprise -- surprise that he looks as good as he does, that he is as healthy as he is and that he's still pretty much the same free spirit that he was before the accident.


"I'm always going to be me, and these are the things I enjoy doing," said Roethlisberger, as he sat with a big smile on his face in his hotel suite. "I'm healthy, I feel great and, frankly, I think I look pretty good considering what I've been through. I just know that I needed to do this, not only for me, but to let people know that I am back.


"It was an awesome feeling to walk out on that stage [at the ESPYs] and see the faces of my teammates and just to be there with those guys. It was great to be there with my guys again.


"When Jerome said 'Ben is here,' you got a lot of gasps, almost like people in the crowd were thinking 'Oh my, what does he look like? Is he messed up at all?' But then once they saw me I heard an even bigger gasp like 'he looks normal, he's walking!' Some of my own teammates didn't even know what to think when they see me because they think I am going to be messed up really bad."


Roethlisberger was not the only high-profile Steelers player to make some headlines this offseason.


Santonio Holmes, the Steelers' first-round draft pick, has been arrested twice since draft day, the latest on domestic-violence charges. Holmes is a receiver, which means he'll work closely with Roethlisberger, but so far he hasn't endeared himself to the hand that will some day feed him.


"I've reached out to Santonio, kind of like [Jerome Bettis] did to me," Roethlisberger said.


"I gave him my numbers, told him to call me, and when he got into trouble, I called him a bunch of time and left a bunch of messages for him, and he has never called me back, so I don't know how to take it.


"If he wants me to help him and wants me to take him under my wing, I'll do that, but it is his call, now, not mine. The ball is in his court, so to speak, but I think he'll be OK and, hopefully, he'll get to camp and get his head screwed on straight."


Roethlisberger was criticized for not wearing a helmet, but said it was actually a mistake that he didn't have one on the day of the accident because he had planned on taking it with him to get it painted to match his bike.


He said he forgot to grab it on his way out the door, but he wore a helmet much more often than not when he rode, if, for no other reason, than to hide his identity so he could ride in anonymity.


He said he might ride a motorcycle again and he might not, but, if he does, he likely will wear a helmet. But he also said sometimes he might not.


"I'm not even thinking about it, about riding or not, about wearing a helmet or not," Roethlisberger said. "The only helmet I am thinking about right now is my football helmet, getting it back on and playing for the Steelers.


"This was a scary event, but not in the way that it makes me want to change who I am or be afraid to live my life.


"I look at it as this -- God had a plan for me and he did this to make me take a step back and see what his plan for my life is.


"I'm taking that and running with it -- I'm thankful for every day, I look at every day as a blessing."



Roethlisberger said he has also received some criticism for going to a golf event so soon after the accident instead of staying in Pittsburgh and working on rehabilitating himself. He said that criticism is unfounded because he will be working out every day while he is in Lake Tahoe.


Yesterday, he and a couple of his friends worked out in the parking lot behind his hotel, and that workout including running and throwing a football.


In an interview earlier this week, Roethlisberger said he had been bleeding in his mouth after the accident and it was so bad -- he called it a "river of blood" -- that had that not been found it he might have died from the blood in his stomach and lungs. He said the roof of his mouth was split and he broke a vein or blood vessel.


That apparently caused the bleeding, but doctor did not reveal that to him until recently.


He said such bleeding has not completely stopped, but that is the only lingering complication from the accident. He said he doesn't get headaches, doesn't have side effects from his concussion and his knee feels stronger now than it was before the accident.


Roethlisberger also said that initially he got tired easily, but, he added, his endurance and strength are back to the point where he can do most of normal activities again.


"That's really it, from time to time I still cough up a little blood here and there now," Roethlisberger said. "I could suit up and play, I feel that good. I've been out throwing a lot, I've started running again and, really, the only thing I need to regain is my strength, my football strength, which I'm not worried about because I have all of training camp to do that in the weight room.


"My arm feels great and my knee isn't even swelling like it did before the accident."


Roethlisberger said he learned how fragile life can be and knows he's fortunate that the results of the accidents were not worse, but, more than anything, he said he has learned just how high profile of a job he has as the starting quarterback of the Steelers.


He said he was amazed at the reaction and the coverage his accident generated, but he accepts that responsibility even though some days he would like to be able to do things he likes to do to unwind -- like ride a motorcycle.


"Most of the time, I realize I live under a microscope and I have to be careful," Roethlisberger said. "But there are those times when I just want to be me, just be Ben Roethlisberger. I just want to be Ben, not Ben the Steelers' quarterback. I mean, like Bill Cowher says -- I am a free spirit and I love that word because it is different than a rebel. I think I will continue to do that, whatever that entails, I'm not going to change who I am just because I had an accident."

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He reaks of a guy who wants to be normal, but isn't and has been trying to cope with that for a long time. He's such a free spirit and likeable guy and he just wants to enjoy his life the way he wants. Sounds like a rock stuck in a hard place.

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