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  1. #1
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    The truth about Ben Roethlisberger

    By Jim Wexell
    SteelCityInsider.com
    Posted Mar 24, 2007


    The story that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn't work hard enough is spiraling out of control. Here's the truth, according to one suburban beat writer:

    It was a November sports article to me, whether Ben Roethlisberger was a hard worker or not, until one of my colleagues said this:

    "I'd watch that 'Ben doesn't work hard' stuff if I were you."

    It was cryptic. I asked for an explanation and he just raised an eyebrow and left, like it was a serious warning, like he was trying to help me out.

    Hogwash, I thought. So what if the quarterback doesn't talk to me? That's like the head coach not talking to you. You rarely get either of them one-on-one anyhow, and if you do they just spout a bunch of cliches'. Sure, if I had a radio show, as my writer/sportscaster friend - the one who gave me the warning - had, I might have to worry.

    The point is I could see lines being drawn in the media back then. And when I watched Joe Starkey of the Tribune-Review demanding that Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette reveal his sources during one of those Sunday night TV shout-fests, I wondered whether those drawn lines pitted one newspaper against another newspaper for the love of Ben Roethlisberger.

    Trust me, placating members of the front office, coaches or star players, in my experience, doesn't work. You lose the respect of the targeted source, for one thing, and, sure enough, Roethlisberger gave his side of the story to the Post-Gazette this week.

    A lot of good it did the Trib to take Roethlisberger's side in this "work-ethic" debate. Two columnists from that paper swear Ben's a hard worker, and that maybe -- in the words of Starkey to Cook - the rumors are just coming from the mouths of "jealous defensive players."

    Yes, I'd heard of one defensive player, one with a reputation as a straight-shooter, who'd been complaining that he was "sick of the coaching staff babying Ben." That was back in November. But I'd also heard an offensive coach -- now a former offensive coach -- claim that Ben didn't work hard enough. I'd also heard this coach worry about the future of a franchise that was about to plunge a fortune into a quarterback who'd enjoyed too much early success and didn't figure to change his ways at this point.

    Those are some of the points Ron Cook had made in a Post-Gazette column that supposedly had Roethlisberger going crazy. He wanted to tell his side, and this week he did.

    In the interview, The P-G's Ed Bouchette, first of all, asked Roethlisberger about the comments former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt had made at the combine in February, that the Steelers had rushed Roethlisberger back too soon from his motorcycle accident.

    "No, I don't agree with Whis," Roethlisberger said. "There were a lot of things I didn't agree with Whis about, and that's another one."

    Ouch. Apparently, the two aren't getting along.

    Bouchette did ask Roethlisberger if there was truth to the rumor that he doesn't work hard enough.

    "Not at all," Roethlisberger said. "It's actually quite the opposite. It's funny to me because the guys know and Mr. Rooney knows and coach knows that I worked out five days a week, which -- maybe that was my problem -- but Super Bowl year I never worked out. Last year I was in the best shape of my life. Body fat was down. I was lifting. I gained back muscle, which was awesome, so all that stuff they talk about, not working hard, I've got to let it go."

    But that was only half of the answer to the work-ethic question, and it meshed with what Hines Ward told the Beaver County Times at this year's Super Bowl:

    "Physically, Ben looked great," Ward said. "But the mental part, well, you'll have to ask Ben."

    Roethlisberger didn't discuss "the mental part" with the P-G, and that's the point I'm finally getting to, because it's a point a former offensive coach made with me not long ago.

    Now, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a former offensive coach of the Steelers these days, but this one is the most reliable, the most stable, the most sober, the wisest, and the one with nothing to gain and no axe to grind.

    He asked that I not use his name and I promised I wouldn't. At the time, it wasn't for public use anyway, but this story has spiraled out of control, with many readers demanding an opinion from me, a suburban beat reporter. So the only reason I've given the clues I've given about this coach is that he really didn't say anything damning about Roethlisberger.

    In fact, after all I'd heard from the defensive player, from the other former coach, from Ward, from other reporters and their sources, I expected my source to shake his head, wave both hands, and tell me how glad he was that he didn't have to put up with this quarterback anymore.

    But he didn't.

    "Ben will give you everything he has out on the practice field," the former coach started. "And he'd give it to you for eight hours, if you wanted to practice that long. No, this is one tough kid who works his *** offon the field. But he needs to improve his study habits. He needs to watch more video and study his playbook more because the game is just too difficult these days with all of the packages coming and going. You have to really study.

    "Bobby Lane could get away without studying; so could Joe Namath. But those guys played back in the days when it was a much simpler game. Even back in the 80's, when Jim McMahon partied all week and went out there and let it fly by the seat of his pants, played by his instincts, and still won, you could get away with it even then. But you just can't get away with it today."

    I asked the coach if he considered this to be a serious, lasting problem with Roethlisberger. He said that he didn't think it would be and cited the work Roethlisberger's doing with new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

    A streamlined playbook is being installed and Arians asked for input from Roethlisberger on what to keep in, what to take out, and what changes to make. My source believes this bit of inclusion will spark Roethlisberger, as will the recent wave of negative press.

    "I'd coach that kid any time," he said. "He'll be fine."

    And there you have it. The truth behind not only Ben Roethlisberger, but much of the media -- a capitalist media, to be sure -- that often worries more about getting the exclusive with the quarterback than reporting the truth.

    It's killing me that the old cut and paste doesn't work with Wexell's articles. Yes folks, that is a complete re-type. The one thing that I did gleen from all that reporter gobblygook is that Bruce Arians has Ben actively involved in re-writing the playbook for our offense. What a concept, having the man responsible for running it having some input on what works best for him and what plays he likes and dislikes. I think that just like here at Steeler Addicts, reporters who must come up with something to put in print (because it's their job and they have to) sometimes blow things out of proportion for the sake of a story. I think Ben will be fine and I am now more excited than perhaps I have ever been of watching the Steelers play again!

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_082009/home.parcoltop11.35513.ImageFile.jpg

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    Good post I know its the reporters job to get the "story" but in these instances I don't think its a story. Its rumor that so and so heard it from so and so. I do believe that Ben had success to early in his career, which I'm not bitching about cuz the Steelers got a ring out of it. I also believe that if he were lazy and didn't have a reasonably good work ethic he wouldn't have the success he has had. Work ethic and habits show on the field, theres no hiding it on the field, especially at QB. No matter how much Ben downplays what happened last year and not trying to blame it on the accident and the appendectomy, we all know that was a big reason for our misfortunes on offense. Anytime someone has surgery for anything it causes trauma to the body and it takes a while for the body to heal, especially with head trauma. He had guts to come back and play when he did and I have a lot of respect for that. Hindsight is 20/20 and its real easy especially for reporters who don't have slightest clue as to what it takes to play professional football to sit around and "report" supposed stories about a particular player based on rumors. Its great to hear that Ben is working with Arians to simplify the playbook, that shows work ethic and a commitment to winning.


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    Top 30 BBC's Avatar
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    Just so you know, the reason that his articles don't cut and paste is because it's illegal to post something from a site that requires a payment in order to read their stories.

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    Amazing how even rival city publications who both have access to the same information whether it's from one source or another can both be different. What it all comes down too is that this is a good article overall, thanks for posting it up. It's good to see the team shaking off the remnants of last year no matter what they were and focusing on 2007. If this coming season follows usual Steeler protocol we should bounce back nicely and be right in the thick of the playoff hunt come December. This year though there's alot of questions that still have to be answered no the least of which is how well the team will respond to Tomlin and the new coaches. If they can pull that off and work together we can be something special and everything will fall into place.

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    Wow, thanks for all the work you put into sharing that with us 4vr! Great read--sounds good to me

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    Good read,thanks for posting !... Now let's stir the pot...

    "No, I don't agree with Whis," Roethlisberger said. "There were a lot of things I didn't agree with Whis about, and that's another one."

    Ouch. Apparently, the two aren't getting along.

    wonder how much this affected his not being hired???




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    Living Legend Steelersfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlacknGold Bleeder View Post
    Good read,thanks for posting !... Now let's stir the pot...

    "No, I don't agree with Whis," Roethlisberger said. "There were a lot of things I didn't agree with Whis about, and that's another one."

    Ouch. Apparently, the two aren't getting along.

    wonder how much this affected his not being hired???
    I would bet a lot! If you can't get along with your QB of the future you won't get the job.

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    Ben's our man. I'm looking forward to this season.

    BTW...thank you for taking the effort to post this.
    Last edited by floodcitygirl; 03-25-2007 at 01:44 AM.

  9. #9
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    Interesting read. I kinda figured the entire situation was blown out of poportion.

    I'm A "Champion"

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Ive been wondering just how much Ben and Whis disagreed on things and when it might have started because up until last year things were going pretty hunky dory.

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