Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger caused quite a stir during his Tuesday interview on 93.7 The Fan with the comments he made on how physical the team’s practices are and how he thinks that might somewhat be playing a role in all of the injuries that have occurred so far this season.
“We have a lot of injuries and I think that a lot of our stuff stems from we’re one of the most physical football teams in training camps, in practice – we do more hitting than most teams do and more pads, Roethlisberger said Tuesday. “I remember we had the Lions came in this year and they hadn’t done a day in pads and we had already done like two weeks. And we were telling their players how physical our practices are and I think sometimes it takes a toll on some guys. You know, hamstrings and quads and guys re-injuring things and I think as a team, we talk about being a physical football team and we are a physical football team, but we also have to take care of our guys.”
During his Wednesday talk with the media in the team’s locker room, Roethlisberger was given an opportunity to further explain his Tuesday comments and he doubled-down, so to speak.
“Obviously, I’m not one to complain because I don’t get hit like the other guys do, but I will stand up for the guys up front and the running backs, the guys that take a pounding every day during a long season,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “The season is super long as it is and very physical, and when you’re doing it over and over, and the guys’ shoulders are getting sore, and knees start getting sore and hips and hamstrings and quads and things; and then, they re-occur. You’ve got to take a look at maybe what you’re doing. I know we pride ourselves as Pittsburgh Steelers on being a physical team so I know it’s a fine line you have to walk.”
While I respect Roethlisberger’s opinion on the matter of practices possibly being too physical, I personally am struggling with him making his thoughts public on the matter. Has he talked to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin about this? I don’t really know for sure at this stage and it appears as though he dodged a question similar to that on Wednesday before ending his media session.
Outside of cornerback Justin Gilbert (knee) and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (quad), it appears as though most of the Steelers injuries that have taken place so far this season have happened during regular or preseason games.
That long list of players includes: defensive end Cameron Heyward (knee, hamstring), safety Robert Golden (hamstring), center/guard Cody Wallace (knee), safety Shamarko Thomas (groin), linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee), tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle, elbow), tackle Ryan Harris (leg), wide receiver Eli Rogers (toe), linebacker Jarvis Jones (ankle, wrist), linebacker Anthony Chickillo (knee, ankle), guard Ramon Foster (chest), fullback Roosevelt Nix (back), wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder), wide receiver Markus Wheaton (shoulder), safety Sean Davis (back) and linebacker Lawrence Timmons (shin).
While that list is certainly long, I really wonder just how much physical practices have played a role in any of them. We’ll never really know the answer to that and maybe the Steelers are just a very unlucky team this season when it comes to all of the injuries they’ve suffered. I’m not going to pretend I know the answer as I am not a doctor and I’ve never attended a practice.
“You see those pads on top of the locker being worn all year long, so like I said, for me, I can’t complain too much because I’m not the one getting hit, but I will stand up for the big boys,” Roethlisberger said.
While I understand Roethlisberger wanting to stick up for his guys, I’m not so sure he’s going about it the right way and at this point I worry about his recent comments becoming some sort of distraction as this topic will certainly be discussed heavily the remainder of the week.
Should the Steelers somehow lose to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, you can bet this topic will be discussed even more and will ultimately lead to Tomlin being asked about it during his press conference after the game or on Tuesday at the latest. That might happen even if they beat the Dolphins.
In case you didn’t already know it, all NFL teams are limited to 14 padded practices once the regular season gets underway and all practices are filmed for the league to review so that they can make sure the rules are being followed.
How do you view Roethlisberger’s recent comments? Should he be applauded for them, or should he not made them public?