Editor's note: Each week during the season Graham Bensinger will be talking with high-profile NFL figures for ESPN.com's Weekly Conversation.
Graham Bensinger: Next week, Bengals-Steelers … what comes to mind when you think about that?
They're the best team in football, a great opponent, and got us the last time we played them. It's a huge game. It's a division game and our rival. A game we need to win going in to their place [Heinz Field]. It's going to be exciting.
Bensinger: What do you expect it to be like?
: It's going to be a knock-down fight and a drag-out, four-quarter battle. They are a very physical team and we're a physical team. We match up well. They have a good defense. We have a good offense. They have a good offense. We have a good defense. It's a very evenly matched game. Whoever executes better and plays their best football that day will win.
Bensinger: To what extent did last season's wild-card playoff game vs. the Steelers intensify your hate toward them?
I don't hold a grudge toward them. I don't think Kimo [von Oelhoffen] took a cheap shot or anything like that. Just the fact that they knocked us out of the playoffs means a lot, makes us want to beat them bad, and get the best of them.
Bensinger: I know you forgave Kimo and said it's all part of the game, but what surprised me is that he never attempted to reach out to you. To what extent were you surprised he never contacted you?
I really didn't think twice about it. He obviously had a lot going on. He's on his road to the Super Bowl. It's part of the game.
Bensinger: Come on … there was plenty of time between the end of last season and now. Years ago your injury would have been career-ending. Some have said even now it was career-threatening. It may be part of the game, but don't you think he should have called?
People get hurt all of the time. Every time somebody gets hurt, the guy that hit him doesn't need to give him a call and make sure they're OK. Football is an aggressive, physical game. I really wasn't surprised at all.