Sports Magazine

Big Ben Interview with Jim Wexell

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Q. How are you feeling?
A. Fine, thank you.
Q. How’s the shoulder?
A. It’s OK. Getting better.
Q. Any chance you’re going to play?
A. Yeah, there’s always a chance. We’ll go out and re-evaluate it again today. See how it feels after today.
Q. What do you have to do to play? Is it handling the pain?
A. I can play through a lot of pain, so that is a little bit. To me it’s ability. Can I make a long throw? Can I put a lot of zip on the ball, throw it really hard before people like Ed Reed and defenders can get to the ball? Because if I can’t I’m not putting this team in the best situation to win the game.
Q. Has it been a quicker heal than expected?
A. I don’t know. I’m just doing everything I can to get back. The training staff and doctors have been great help. Just working to get back out there.
Q. It was said a rib dislocation could affect your heart. Are you safe from that?
A. Well, this game we play, I don’t think you’re ever completely safe. But, yeah, according to them it’s stable on the backside, posterior. Obviously you could take a big hit and anything could happen, but from what I understand that aspect of it is OK.
Q. How much zip did you have yesterday?
A. That was yesterday so we’ll see what today holds. I’m not 100 percent but we’re going to get as close as we can.
Q. How much confidence does this team have in Charlie Batch?
A. A lot. I firmly believe that. They know what he’s capable of, that he’s been doing it a long time. They respect him. I think that they’re ready to rise to the occasion.
Q. He was disappointed in his performance at Cleveland. Do you have reason to believe he’ll improve dramatically against Baltimore?
A. I think he holds himself to a high standard that we all do, so for him to say that he was disappointed doesn’t surprise me because I know that he wants to go out and play a great game and he expects to do that. I expect a big bounce-back game from him.
Q. If you play, would you wear anything special around that area?
A. We’ve juiced up the shoulder pads a little bit and the trainers and equipment staff have put some protective padding and Kevlar in the shoulder pads to help.
Q. What about protecting your ribs?
A. I always wear rib protectors that are low, so nothing to change there. Most if it’s up high on the shoulder pads.
Q. How tough is it for you to evaluate how well you will be able to play?
A. I think that’s always something that as a player, and me in particular, I have to evaluate when I’m injured. I want to be out there no matter what, but not at the risk of hurting the team. I don’t want to play so bad that I just go out there and hurt the team and not be good. It’s tough. If you’ve watched me during these games I’ve been on the field probably more than the coaches and stuff because I’m just antsy to be out there. We’ll evaluate. Ultimately it will come down to coach’s decision, I believe.
Q. Can you begin to describe where you are pain-wise?
A. I’m better. I’m a lot better. I’m sleeping in the bed. I can only sleep in certain positions in bed but at least I’m in bed. It’s gotten better. To know you’re just dealing with pain – I can deal with pain.
Q. The criterion for playing is not about whether you could get re-hurt or re-injured, it’s about your arm strength, right?
A. Well, it’s a lot of things, but to me that’s what I’m going to evaluate today, and the next couple days, is where am I at in the evaluation of what can I do? What throws can I make? What can’t I make? So we’ll go look at it heavy today I think.
Q. Is part of that evaluation saying one more week of rest makes you better for the last four games?
A. Uh, yeah, I guess you could look at it in that way. We’ve had people talk about last year in San Francisco, if I would’ve rested, maybe I would’ve been better off the last couple games. But, to me, I live for the here and now and I’m going to do everything I can to be out there, and if it doesn’t work than I’ll do what I can about next week.
Q. Do you buy the theory that you it would’ve helped you to not play in San Francisco? And are using that as part of your application to figure this out?
A. I don’t know. It could be; could not be. Maybe I wouldn’t have healed up; maybe I would have. I’m going to make sure I’m ready to go so I can help this team the best I can.
Q. Was it just lack of arm strength? Or was there pain when you threw yesterday?
A. Both.
Q. Is it more motivation that it’s Baltimore?
A. To me it doesn’t matter who it is, but it is a divisional game. That gives you motivation. It’s Baltimore, so, yeah, of course, there is a little bit more in that.
Q. Ryan Clark said if you would’ve won in Cleveland you could take the extra week. Do you feel that way?
A. We’ll see what happens.
Q. How’s fatherhood?
A. Great, thank you.
Q. Even with a newborn you’re getting sleep?
A. A little bit of rest, yes.
Q. Are you helping out?
A. I’m helping out as much as I can.
Q. Have doctors made a suggestion about when you should come back?
A. No. To them I think they’re telling me the same thing I think I’m telling you. If I’m wrong I’m sure they‘ll let you know. What I understand is it’s an evaluation. Pain-wise, what can you deal with? What can’t you deal with? What are you able to do? How far can I throw the ball? I think it’s just an evaluation by everybody.
Q. How much input will you have in the decision?
A. I hope I have a lot. I’m going to be honest with Coach. I think he trusts me to be honest with him.

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