Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ben Roethlisberger on Altoona, his guys, and his ankle

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

While so-called media elites gathered in Washington, DC last night to roast the president, the real elites gathered at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona for the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  Among the inductees were revered legends such as former St. Francis basketball star Don Appleman, former Maryland football player Todd Benson, former minor league baseball player Harold "Bucky" Bush, former Duquesne University and WNBA player Candace Futrell, former Villanova basketball player Allen Griffith and Tyrone Area High School's PIAA championship football team of 1999.

And when you have that many legends in one room to celebrate Altoona, you break out the big guns.

Yep.  That's Hancock County, Ohio's own Big Ben Roethlisberger.

He was on hand to deliver the keynote address and Altoona Mirror reporter Buck Frank, who inexplicably wasn't invited to the White House Correspondent's Dinner, was there to cover it all.  Below are some of the nuggets that Frank uncovered from General Ben.  All of them are real.  Except one.

- Regarding his first talk with Steelers first-round draft pick David DeCastro.
"He was saying, 'Did you get those flight plans? Did you get those flight plans?''' ... Roethlisberger said after a few seconds, DeCastro realized who he was talking to. "I can't wait once we get started to get on him about that,'' Roethlisberger joked. 
Much more after the jump....

- Regarding the commitment to the offensive line.
"I'm excited,'' Roethlisberger said before Saturday's event. "You know, at least on paper, it looks awesome. But, you never know until you take the field and the bullets start flying. I'm really excited. We got some good guys on offense and defense to help add to a team that was good already. "I had an idea [about the picks]. They kept me in the loop a little bit. When DeCastro was there, you got to take him. Some are saying he's one of the best guards in college since Alan Faneca. We hope he can live up to the hype.'' 
- Regarding Rashard Mendenhall's uncertain return from ACL surgery.
"That's the big question, is how healthy Rashard's going to be,'' Roethlisberger said. "But Isaac Redman stepped up last year, and Baron Batch was injured last year but is a young guy we have high hopes for. And we got the new guy, and we have guys like Jonathan Dwyer. We'll see what happens, but I think we'll be good in that area.'' 
- Regarding discussions with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
"We'll be allowed to talk this week coming up, so I'm looking forward to it,'' Roethlisberger said. "I know it's going to be a lot different offense as far as the wording, the verbiage. It's a lot tougher. I don't want to say we're taking a step back, but we're starting over in learning the offense. You'll see differences in calling plays. But how much we'll run or pass, I don't know.'' 
- Regarding his guys, the wording, and the verbiage.
"Like I said, the wording, the verbiage will be different. But what won't change is that when we're in the trenches taking enemy fire, I'll be the first one to stand up, take a bullet to my chest, writhe in pain on the ground, limp slowly toward the locker room, pause briefly, look at God and have a personal discussion with him, return after halftime with 11 inches of tape around both my ankles and wrists, grab my helmet, lead my men back onto the field, and call a play from the cheat sheet on my wrist that I'm still wearing after 8 years in the league albeit with different wording and verbiage."
- Regarding losing some of his guys.
"That's the natural progression of our job,'' Roethlisberger said. "You're always losing guys. The locker room won't be the same. You can't replace guys like Aaron Smith, Hines and James Farrior, but it's time for other guys to step up, and my role will continue to grow.'' 
- Regarding the ankle.
 "The ankle is doing OK,'' he said. "It's going slower than I had hoped, but it's definitely healing. I feel like I'm getting into the prime of my career. I hope my play on the field shows that.'' 
- Regarding what this is all about.
"I couldn't tell you how close I am [for passing records],'' Roethlisberger said. "To me, it's about Super Bowl rings, and I'm two behind him still. To me, it's more about team stuff.''

Has no idea how close he is to passing records and stuff.

1 comment:

  1. There are few people in the world that I would want to hang out with less than Ben Roethlisberger.