Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won’t be starting tonight’s game against the Ravens, due to the lingering effects of a concussion.
Roethlisberger, as widely reported, was not cleared by a neurologist.
But teammate Hines Ward hints at a locker room divided on the question of whether Ben should have played.
“This game is almost like a playoff game,” Ward told NBC’s Bob Costas. “It’s almost a ‘must’ win. So, I can see some players or some teammates kind of questioning like, ‘Well, it’s just a concussion. I’ve played with concussions before. I would go out there and play.’ So, it’s almost like a 50-50 toss-up in the locker room. You know, should he play, shouldn’t he play. It’s really hard to say.
“I’ve been out there dinged up. The following week, [I] got right back out there. You know, Ben practiced all week. . . . To find out that he’s still having some headaches and not playing and it came down to doctor’s didn’t feel that they was gonna clear him. . . . It’s hard to say, unless you’re the person. . . . I’ve lied to a couple of doctors saying ‘I’m straight, I feel good,’ when I knew I’m really not straight. But I don’t think guys really about the future when they’re playing currently in the NFL. . . .
“Trust me, the players, they wanna go out there because these games, you don’t get back. You’re never gonna get this Baltimore-Pittsburgh game back.”
Though Hines never says, “Ben is being soft,” the import is clear. Hines is essentially saying, “Ben is being soft.”
So what does Ward think should Roethlisberger have done? The answer, based on Ward’s words, is clear: Ben should have lied about his status and sucked it up and played.
And we suspect that some of the 50 percent of the players who think Roethlisberger should be playing believe that the quarterback’s reputation for being a drama queen contributed to this situation. Indeed, if he’d merely said nothing about how he was feeling, he’d likely be something other than the emergency quarterback during a game tonight that he’s “never gonna get back.”
But we all know that, when it comes to his various and sundry injuries, Ben can never say nothing.