PHOENIX - Ben Roethlisberger spoke at a new conference Wednesday to promote the Pro Bowl. Afterward, he tried to defuse a controversy sparked by his comments that he'd like the Steelers to add a tall wide receiver to their roster.

Hines Ward appeared to take umbrage at what Roethlisberger said, but the Steelers quarterback said that was never the case.

"People made it way bigger than it really was, so there's no rift between Hines and I," Roethlisberger said at the Phoenix Convention Center. "We actually talked and laughed about it and joked. Hines and I have no problem."

Roethlisberger said his comments that he wants a taller wide receiver -- no wideout on the Steelers' 53-man roster is listed as taller than 6-foot-1 -- were taken out of context.

"The question was asked of me what else would you like besides what you have on your team now," Roethlisberger said. "I don't want to change who we have. I love my receivers. It got blown way out of proportion."

Roethlisberger had a career year in 2007, as he threw a franchise-record 32 touchdown passes. His passer rating of 104.1 in the regular season was second only to that of New England's Tom Brady.

Roethlisberger, who turns 26 in March, has two years left on his contract, and he and the Steelers are expected to work toward a long-term extension during the offseason. Roethlisberger recently told the Tribune-Review that he wants to retire with the Steelers, and he reiterated that yesterday.

"I keep the stance that I'm trying to stay in Pittsburgh," Roethlisberger said, adding that he hasn't heard anything in regard to a contract extension from his agents or the Steelers.

Roethlisberger, who set a handful of Steelers record last season, will play in his first Pro Bowl next month.

He is one of three Steelers players -- guard Alan Faneca and linebacker James Harrison are the others -- who will play in the Feb. 10 game.

He said he will stay in Phoenix for a couple of days but will leave before the New York Giants play the undefeated New England Patriots Sunday in Super Bowl XLII.

Two years ago, Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl after he guided the Steelers to a 21-10 win over the Seahawks.

He said he thinks the Steelers have the foundation to return to the Super Bowl in the near future.

"I think we have a lot of the tools, and I think we have a lot of the players that are essential for us next year," Roethlisberger said. "I think there are some things that we all need to work on, myself included, and I think we'll be just fine because we have each other, and everybody we have in that room is talented and can get it done."
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_550061.html

damn i was hoping they'd fight on the field lol