By now, most of you have seen the replay of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict apparently trying to drive his knee into the throwing shoulder of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger while both were on the ground following a sack late in the third quarter of Saturday night’s Wild Card game. On Tuesday, Roethlisberger was asked about that sack and if he took issue with anything that Burfict did on that play during his weekly radio appearance on 93.7 The Fan.
“I do not think it was a dirty hit,” Roethlisberger said. “I think he was playing the game… I know that there is some video of him supposedly kneeing me, or kicking me, or whatever, but I don’t think there was anything intentional.”
Roethlisberger’s response probably isn’t overly surprising being as he has to play the Bengals and Burfict twice a year moving forward. Besides, he was probably in too much pain after hitting the ground to notice Burfict’s MMA-like finishing move at the conclusion of the play. While intent certainly appears to be there on Burfict’s part, his knee to the shoulder of the Steelers quarterback likely didn’t cause the sprained AC joint and torn ligaments in Roethlisberger’s right shoulder.
During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to comment on Burfict’s apparent post-sack knee, but he wouldn’t bite on the question.
“I’m not acknowledging a knee that did or didn’t happen,” said Tomlin. “I’m not getting into that. He got sacked, he got hurt.”
Roethlisberger is currently day-to-day with his shoulder injury and as a result will likely be limited in practice throughout the week.
“I’ll go in tomorrow with the intent to see what I can do,” said a sore Roethlisberger during his Tuesday interview. “I honestly don’t know. I haven’t tried to throw a football since the game, and maybe that’s not even the right thing to do right away. I’ll see the doctors and trainers tomorrow, we’ll evaluate kind of how I feel. If anything, maybe I can practice and hand off and still get some mental reps that way. So we’ll really just kind of see how it goes tomorrow.”
While Roethlisberger was able to return for the Steelers final offensive possession Saturday night, it was evident that he couldn’t throw the football down the field very far.
“I definitely felt like I was shortening up my motion up a little bit, which is why we threw some screens, and couldn’t really get the ball down the field… I think it just more affected how I could throw it,” Roethlisberger said.
The Steelers plan on getting backup quarterback Landry Jones extra reps in practice this week just in case he’s needed Sunday in the team’s Divisional Round playoff game against the Denver Broncos. However, Roethlisberger made it clear that he will do his best be ready for that game.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to be out there, but not at the expense of my team,” he said.