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Steelers in danger of imploding

After losing their third straight game on Sunday night, an overtime affair in which second-year quarterback Dennis Dixon did a great job of holding the offense together (and flashing more than a little Randall Cunningham-style potential), the Steelers sounded like a team that is feeling its season slipping away.

Some folks react differently to such situations.  Coach Mike Tomlin, for example, already has opted to increase the intensity.  

Dramatically.

“We will not go gently,” Tomlin said after the game.  “We will unleash hell here in December.”

But receiver Hines Ward was still focused on the one that got away.

“This is the biggest game of the year,” Ward said, per James Walker of ESPN.com.  “Me being a competitor, I just wished we had all our weapons out there.”

It was a reprise of Ward’s comments to Bob Costas of NBC, about which we commented last night.  Since some of you disagreed with our interpretation (I think they call that “denial”), here’s the video — along with the interpretation from Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, and Rodney Harrison of Football Night in America

So now Tomlin has a problem in the locker room, even if he’s in denial as well.

“I’m not worried about a problem in the locker room,” Tomlin said after the game, per Walker.  “Of course, in that instance maybe Hines was uninformed.”

But Hines wasn’t uninformed.  Ward realized that the doctors decided not to let Ben play.  Ward also realized that if Ben had only said “I’m fine” after practice on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Ben would have been cleared to play.

Instead, Ben complained of headaches.  (Based on his history and reputation, Roethlisberger might have actually said, “My head hurts so bad I think I almost died.”)

So the champs have fallen from 6-2 to 6-5.  Four years ago, they turned it on at 7-5 and rode the momentum all the way to the Super Bowl.  With a manageable stretch run (Oakland, at Cleveland, Green Bay, Baltimore, at Miami), they can do it again.

If they can get safety Troy Polamalu back before the Packers come to town.

And if their starting quarterback hasn’t lost 50 percent or more of the locker room by not sucking it up and saying whatever he had to say and doing whatever he had to do to play in the biggest game of the year.

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49 Responses to “Steelers in danger of imploding”
  1. B_radC says: Nov 30, 2009 7:15 AM

    No, it’s not called denial. It’s called not looking for drama where there is none. Some football players want to break jaws, others want to live past 60. But they WON THE SUPERBOWL LAST YEAR. Tomlin has proven he is a great coach, and this team has proven they will fight until the clock hits 00:00. One man’s comments does not mean the locker room will implode. The Steelers could have won that game, should have won that game, without Big Ben. They will finish strong, and they have 5 games to make the playoffs. But again, lets hold off the chicken little comments.
    In the words of the great Winston Churchill:
    Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit.

  2. 8man says: Nov 30, 2009 7:17 AM

    Well so much for repeating.
    No team has had more breaks and lucky bounces, and to their credit they’ve taken advantage of them. Well, now they have to get by on talent and guts.
    They don’t have enough of either.

  3. ScoobyDooDoo says: Nov 30, 2009 7:26 AM

    Tomlin will not let any implosions happen, he will bench any non-believers in a heart beat. I have a horrible feeling they wont finish with better than a 9-7 record regardless.

  4. i'm president charlie! says: Nov 30, 2009 7:30 AM

    Congrats to the Ravens. Another entertaining slobber knocker game. I lose 2 years off my life every time these teams get together. Ray Rice’s extra effort all night was really impressive. But, did anyone catch Ray Lewis say something after the game about liking to touch Rice during the game to get power or something? He also said something about thinking about him while he is on the field. Kinda weird.
    49ers and Colts helped the Steelers stay in the playoff hunt yesterday, and Ravens helped themselves last night. It would only feel right if both of these teams make the playoffs. Hopefully the Texans, Broncos, and Jaguars implode. Gotta keep an eye on Tennessee now too.
    And Florio, once Ward realizes that Tomlin ultimately made the decision this situation will be quelled. Lets not make a mountain out of a mole hill.

  5. mborz says: Nov 30, 2009 7:52 AM

    Florio said: “And if their starting quarterback hasn’t lost 50 percent or more of the locker room by not sucking it up and saying whatever he had to say and doing whatever he had to do to play in the biggest game of the year.”
    Sucking it up?
    You’ve been posting story after story about the seriousness of concussions, but now all of a sudden you’re failing to stand behind a player that complains of post-concussion symptoms after practicing?
    Didn’t you just cite players ignoring their symptoms as one of the problems? You had an example here you could have made something positive of, to strengthen the argument you’ve been presenting here for over a week. Instead of doing that, you go for the cheap page views.
    And that’s fine — go for the cheap page views. Say the things you know will incite a ton of discussion. That’s who you are, and you’re successful at it. But it seems even cheaper to try to have it both ways (being a mouthpiece for the dangers of concussions while not supporting a player who experienced post-concussion symptoms and told the training staff about them).

  6. Chad says: Nov 30, 2009 8:03 AM

    I think I would be more worried about the Steelers pass D, especially William Gay, who was burned for 3 quarters…Ravens definately aren’t gonna win a rematch though..

  7. firesnake says: Nov 30, 2009 8:07 AM

    Sorry, but losing to the Ravens (even not as strong as in past seasons) in OT behind your 3rd string qb (playing better than expected) without Head-and-Shoulders Troy is far from imploding in my opinion.
    Currently, it looks like the Chargers would walk past anybody in the league, for weeks ago they were almost dead. So now the Steelers are dead … Sorry guys, it matters how you play down the stretch.
    If the Pats lose tonight, I think they are the first team to scratch because they cannot win anything important or close this year.

  8. Holeinone09 says: Nov 30, 2009 8:26 AM

    First of all, as a Steeler fan, I will say congrats to the Ravens for winning a hard fought game. No excuses about the who played and who didn’t. Their games are always tough and most go down to the wire.
    I was pleased with how the Steelers played most of the game. Many thought they had no chance with Dixon playing and being on the road. This was clearly another winnable game, and yet another game they had a 4th quarter lead and let it slip away.
    I can’t blame Dixon for the OT pick. He is too inexperienced. I do again question some of the plays they gave him. I don’t know why they didn’t try something like a reverse with Santonio, since the Ravens were really clogging the middle, and more short quick passes.
    Nonetheless, the defense gave up a few too many big plays which really hurt. Without Troy, the other defensive backs are average at best.
    As well, too many offensive holding calls at the worst times. And, every time the other team is returning a kick, I hold my breath and pray. Their coverage team looks much slower than the return team.
    But, the worst thing about yesterday was Ward’s comments about Ben. I love Ward, but yesterday I wanted to kick his ass. Is he crazy?? Nobody takes more hits than Ben. He plays hurt, regardless of whether he complains about it. Another Pittsburgh great, Roberto Clemente, complained continuously but was one of the best players of all time.
    Even if Ward didn’t know that the doctor didn’t clear him to play, how could he say something before he had that information? And after he found out, he should issue a public apology!
    There we no way Ben should have played if he was having headaches. Ward might have played with bumps and bruises, but I bet he never played with headaches after a concussion.
    I am extremely disappointed at Ward and anybody else in the so-called 50% of the locker room who thought Ben was dogging it. Those people are complete jackasses in my opinion, and Tomlin better fix it right now.

  9. Tom says: Nov 30, 2009 8:30 AM

    Steelers, it isn’t that bad to implode the Chiefs did it a long time ago and you get used to it after a few months.

  10. Gautam says: Nov 30, 2009 8:32 AM

    who cares … Ward will be out of that place very soon

  11. leatherneck says: Nov 30, 2009 8:33 AM

    I’m not a Steelers fan, but Dennis Dixon has real potential in this league as a quarterback. If Tomlin chews him out after that mostly magnificient game he played as a near-rookie quarterback, that would be a crying shame.
    Again, I don’t even like the Steelers, so I normally wouldn’t bother. That said, Dixon really impressed me with the way he played yesterday. Dennis Dixon should get the support of his coaches and teammates. He is just too good at this very early stage in his career to be treated in any other way.

  12. leatherneck says: Nov 30, 2009 8:36 AM

    I heard that Big Ben was not cleared to play by a neurologist. It had nothing to do with “sucking it up.” It had to do with doctor’s orders to not play.

  13. ShootahCowboy says: Nov 30, 2009 8:38 AM

    In not being a Steeler fan, but being married to one, I was shocked by Ward’s comments. Of all the teams I thought this wasn’t possible on. I thought Ward was smarter than that, especially having no knowledge of the Doctor’s assessments.
    Would I blame Ben for not playing? Absolutely not. If I were him, I’d like to remember all three Super Bowls, not just 1 1/2. Hines Ward won’t be there to hold Ben’s children and grandchildren, Ben will.
    This season will be known as “The season of the concussion.” The freakish thing about it is how do we cut down the number of concussions?

  14. VoxVeritas says: Nov 30, 2009 8:44 AM

    “Tomlin has proven he is a great coach”
    Ah, no. At best Tomlin is a poor man’s version of Barry Switzer but with only one quarter of the championship rings won as a head coach.

  15. SteelerStylee says: Nov 30, 2009 8:46 AM

    So Florio, are you saying players who have just suffered concussions should suck it up, stay quiet and play? Wow. Football is a game. Ben is captain of a team, not a platoon. I don’t care if he is a drama queen, he needs to take care of himself so he can enjoy having full human capacities for the majority of his life. And besides, a neurosurgeon at Uni Pitt said no go, but according to you, Ben should have sucked it up and not been such a wuss.

  16. leatherneck says: Nov 30, 2009 8:57 AM

    PFT quotes Hines Ward who is quoted by James Walker of ESPN.com. “Me being a competitor, I just wished we had all our weapons out there.”
    That is not in the video from NBC on this page. That is at another site.
    I am exasperated. Why don’t you just provide a link over to that other site, to the actual article? I suppose that the other site might be the party responsible. Whoever the suit is who has decided to ban linking between NBC and “the other site” needs to have his MBA taken away and be banned from the Internet from life.

  17. Bill In DC says: Nov 30, 2009 9:00 AM

    Why not start talking about the Steelers & their ‘November meltdown’?

  18. thekillerkeller says: Nov 30, 2009 9:10 AM

    I love listening to Steelers fans bitch about not having Troy. Listen folks, the NFL is about the next player in, about not missing a beat…if there is that big of a gap between Troy and your backup, there is a HUGE problem there. The Bengals lost Odom for the season, but they continue to get pressure and sack the QB and might I add…win. The Colts have lost just about everyone on defense yet they continue to win, with backups. I would continue but I don’t wanna hurt your ‘egos’. So what’s your excuse now? I’d love to hear it.

  19. Sterling says: Nov 30, 2009 9:22 AM

    Riiiight. BenR is supposed to “man up,” lie to the team docs, and jeopardize his long-term health for the sake of one game against the Ravens. That’s not “manning up.” That’s STUPID.

  20. Katmanduu says: Nov 30, 2009 9:29 AM

    Uh, no Vox. Tomlin has done something that no Cowgirl coach has done since Switzer, and that is win a Super Bowl. Switzer was handed a championship roster, because dooshbag owner Jerry couldn’t handle the fact that Jimmy Johnson got all the credit (and rightfully so) for putting that team together back in the 90s. Tomlin won it all in his second year at the helm, while playing the toughest schedule in NFL history. Let’s not confuse the facts with your fiction Vox…..are we a little bitter that America’s Team is really in Western PA?

  21. Zeppelin53 says: Nov 30, 2009 9:33 AM

    @thekillerkeller -
    EXACTLY. Baltimore didn’t have all their weapons last night, either. It’s a next-man-up league.
    Fabian Washington (starting corner) was out, so they started a rookie – Lardarius Webb. And Terrell Suggs didn’t play, so the Ravens started another rookie – Paul Krueger. It was only Krueger’s third active game.
    Now, some may say it was a bigger deal that Dixon was in for Ben, but a rookie corner and a rookie DE playing in only his 3rd game should’ve at least made that task easier for Dixon.
    Well, Krueger made the pick in OT, and Webb almost made the pick toward the end of regulation that would’ve won it.
    Next man up.
    Also, Dennis Dixon has been getting tons of praise for his performance – I think that praise should go to the O-Coordinator instead. Dixon was 12-26, not exactly stellar. But the schemes were great. The bootleg TD run was perfect against that blitz that Baltimore had.

  22. Katmanduu says: Nov 30, 2009 9:35 AM

    The Colts are playing fabulous football this year. When a play REALLY needs to be made, they make it. That’s why they’re 11-0. The Steelers seemed to do that all of last year. Things have a way of breaking even that way. But lets look at this for what it is. The Steelers will be fine. Oakland at home and Cleveland on the road will be wins. That’s 8-5, going into a big home game against Green Bay. Win that, and they will, you’re looking at 9-5, with the Ravens coming in. There’s your season, if the Ravens are still even in it. No Aaron Smith (best D-Lineman), no Troy (best D-Back and BEST defensive player in the league), no Kemo (best O-Lineman), and no Ben (Top 5 in the league), and the Ravens STILL need OT to eek out a win? If I’m a Raven fan, I wouldn’t get too excited. If I’m a Steeler fan, no worries. They will be one of the wildcard teams this year in the playoffs. If Troy and Ben are healthy, they can beat anyone, anywhere, anytime. See 2005 playoffs.

  23. shaunypoo says: Nov 30, 2009 9:44 AM

    Where are all the Steeler fans complaining about how this is a man’s game and all these tough players would be rolling over in their grave? I applaud Tomlin for doing the right thing to preserve Bens health and help him have a longer and more productive career. Maybe Ben wanted to be out there? I dislike the Steelers more than any other team, but would hate to hear the fans bitch and moan about how Tomlin should have kept Ben out if his season had been ended. You have one of the best franchises in sports, and you can’t win for losing because your fans are so damn fickle. At least you will probably have Ben for a few more years, till your oline gets him killed, or he kisses another windshield.

  24. hayward giablommi says: Nov 30, 2009 9:48 AM

    “I love listening to Steelers fans bitch about not having Troy. ”
    ^^^^^^
    Especially considering these are the same trash who were the brains behind the “Bernard Pollard fan club” and preaching “karma” as the reason Tom Brady went down for an entire season (even though they went 11-5 anyway).
    I’d love to shove the “karma” card right back at Pittsburgh fans as the reason Polamalu is missing all these games…but the truth is I think he’s a great player and have nothing for respect for him…unlike the inbred retards who wave the bright piss yellow towels.
    Enjoy another season of defending that championship from your couches in January.

  25. Phokus says: Nov 30, 2009 9:58 AM

    Sorry, but losing to the Ravens (even not as strong as in past seasons) in OT behind your 3rd string qb (playing better than expected) without Head-and-Shoulders Troy is far from imploding in my opinion.
    ————————————————————-
    Yeah, lets ignore the previous 2 losses (one against the CHIEFS)

  26. Richm2256 says: Nov 30, 2009 10:06 AM

    Several thoughts here:
    First, mborz, I don’t see Florio flip-flopping on concussions here; I see the problem as Tomlin saying he doesn’t want to risk Roethlisberger’s health, so they’re keeping him out of the game, but then saying that he’s okay enough to go as the third – or “emergency” – QB ……. so is he hurt, or isn’t he? If he’s hurt he shouldn’t be in the game period. If he’s not hurt enough to stay completely out of the game, why can’t he start in one of their most important games of the season?
    Second, Hines Ward may be right, he may be wrong, but one thing for sure is that he needs to STFU and keep this in-house. How can his comments – sincere or spiteful – NOT cause a bit of drama in addition to the drama already present in the situation?
    Third, Dixon played well enough to “not lose” this game, if not win it. Steelers fans need to admit that and quit using the “woulda won it with Ben” excuse.
    Fourth, Polamalu is an incredible player, no doubt, but if one man’s absence totally kills your defense to the point where you use his absence as an excuse (“woulda won it with Troy”), then you must not have very much of a defense. New England has missed key defensive players – some as vital and as talented as Polamalu – so many times over Belichick’s time there, yet they plug in another player to do well enough to get by and win. Plenty of other teams do as well.
    In short, the Squealers aren’t as deep and talented as they and their fans would like to think, and they and their fans will look for excuses rather than admit this.
    How this team won two Super Bowls while competing against the Patriots, Colts, and Chargers is one of life’s mysteries.

  27. PervyHarvin says: Nov 30, 2009 10:23 AM

    Wasn’t Ben available as the 3rd QB? So you can’t start because of a horrible concussion but would get in if needed? Maybe I’m dumb?Or confused? Sounds like some mixed message bs. He looked fine to me. Ward was just being brutally honest. Bet many Steelers secretly thought,”Damn Ben,suck it up.” Ward just has the balls to say it.
    There are sports were concussions are dealt out like candy.(Boxing,MMA,hockey) Football is being a lil candy in their approach. If a guy wants to play,let him. It’s a million dollar mans decision.

  28. ppdoc13 says: Nov 30, 2009 10:35 AM

    This is much ado about nothing. As much as I hate the Steelers and Rapistburger, the guy is a top 5 QB in the NFL and one of the few guys you don’t want to face in the 4th quarter when you’re up by 3.
    Hines Ward is an emotional player. They lost an important game to their biggest rival last night on prime time. Even though Cincy is running away with the division, the best game in the NFL is the Steelers vs Ravens and everyone knows it.
    Tomlin is a good coach. This is going nowhere and will be squashed before weeks end.
    Good game Steelers fans. You were out Ben and Troy. We were out Suggs and our starting CB. As all of you have said before – No excuses. The three game losing streak is thankfully over. It was sticking in my craw like an unwanted crab shell.

  29. Pastabelly says: Nov 30, 2009 10:39 AM

    @richm2256, I think New England is a poor example here with the Ted Johnson situation. He did play in one huge game after another after having concussions and it did impact his family life. That may be what Rodney Harrison was talking about. Dungy was also right to take on the Steelers in allowing Roethlisberger to be emergency quarterback. If you are not medically cleared to play, you shouldn’t play under ANY circumstances. The Steelers botched this.
    For what it’s worth, I thought Harrison and Dungy wouldn’t work well together. The opposite is true. Their perspective is miles ahead of what you get from Tom Jackson and company in Bristol.

  30. VoxVeritas says: Nov 30, 2009 10:48 AM

    “Uh, no Vox. Tomlin has done something that no Cowgirl coach has done since Switzer, and that is win a Super Bowl. Switzer was handed a championship roster”
    And I guess you’re thinking that Tomlin was not.
    Tomlin’s 2008 starters overwhelmingly consisted of players that Cowher brought in. The only exceptions are Justin Hartwig, Darnell Stapleton, and LaMarr Woodley. For the Cowboys, I can mention CB Deion Sanders, LG Larry Allen, and C Derek Kennard, starters who were all brought in after Jimmy Johnson left.
    “Tomlin won it all in his second year at the helm”
    Wow, just like Switzer. Only Switzer also has three national championship rings to go with his Super Bowl ring. And one of the best W/L records in college football history (.837, fourth best all-time) to go with his .625 record as an NFL head coach (Tomlin is currently .651 and going down fast. The Cowboys went 10-6 and won a playoff game the year after they won Super Bowl 30, we’ll see if Tomlin and the 2009 Steelers can manage anything close to that).
    “while playing the toughest schedule in NFL history”
    Yeah I keep hearing that. It’s arguable, but there’s really no way to quantify something like that with any degree of reliability in the first place. There are just too many variables.
    I do think that Tomlin made the right call regarding Ben Roethlisberger though.

  31. Richm2256 says: Nov 30, 2009 10:51 AM

    Seriously though, is Roethlisberger in some sort of competition with Jamarcus for the “Fattest Quarterback” contest, or what? He does actually look like an overweight Will Ferrell these days.

  32. bleedblackandgold says: Nov 30, 2009 11:06 AM

    Nice win Ravens fans. I always look forward to these matchups each year.
    Now on to the haters. I really haven’t seen anyone making excuses for the loss on here so why bring it up? You all won…..our defense got beat flat out. troy or no Troy, Ben or no Ben we lost. We’ll have another shot at it later this season.
    I do agree that Florio is as much of a drama queen as Ben. Why make a big deal out of this when there are a dozen players out with concussions right now?

  33. footballrulz says: Nov 30, 2009 11:23 AM

    I wonder if Tomlin considered letting Ben play the OT. I mean he was in uniform which is/was totally confusing. However, as well as Dixon was playing maybe he didn’t feel the need.
    Pervy, ssshhhh, you’re gonna have congress investigating MMA, Boxing ,hockey, etc.

  34. VoxVeritas says: Nov 30, 2009 11:23 AM

    “are we a little bitter that America’s Team is really in Western PA?”
    Nobody thinks so but Steeler fans, so we’ll let that be your little secret. Ask anybody else in the world and they’ll reply “Dallas Cowboys”. That’s the reality. It’s not the type of thing that a team or group of fans can bestow upon itself anyway. Yeah yeah I know the story about “the Steelers were approached first and declined” which IMO is a dubious after-the-fact claim that smacks of jealousy at best but assuming that it’s true, the Rooney’s knew that they couldn’t live up to the title so maybe you should take a hint from them. I would think that America would prefer a team that doesn’t cheat the salary cap or a team owner that doesn’t trade political support for political position, but whatever. Maybe you are a Democrat and embrace those types of things.

  35. notlisteninganymore says: Nov 30, 2009 11:44 AM

    @thekillerkeller, @Zeppelin53 and all the haters;
    Perhaps you d-bags should read. I do not see many people, especially Steeler fans making excuses.
    You are both pieces of crap as are all the haters. Your jealousy shines through.
    Once again the Ravens won fair and square and deserved it. Both squads were depleted and that is the way it goes…football is a game of attrition.
    @ VoxVeritas – you are the supreme d-bag of all commenters. Once again coming on after all others ahve commented to add your final thoughts.
    What a tough guy, spewing your lies and unsubstantiated rhetoric. I guess you are an Eagles fan. Do you live in the Philly area. I would love to meet up with you in person to discuss these issues. Guaranteed you will not be so tough after we meet. Name the time and place A@@.

  36. Deb says: Nov 30, 2009 11:54 AM

    Gee, thanks so much for releasing me from my “denial,” Mike. But it still all comes down to nuance, doesn’t it? Hines apparently wanted Ben to play–but does that mean the entire locker room is in disarray and no one can rally around Ben again? Don’t bet on it.
    Lest we forget, the Steelers dropped their previous two games with Ben at the helm and there’s more than enough blame to go around for those losses. Dixon and Arians both stepped up for this game but the defense gave up another fourth-quarter lead. This loss had nothing to do with Ben. And it shouldn’t have anything to do with Troy. I’m not minimizing his impact–nor Aaron Smith’s–but one or two players should not be the deciding factor. Everyone gets paid. Everyone should be able to perform.
    Congrats on the win Ravens. Always a pleasure to watch our teams fight it out. Looking forward to the next meeting.
    “We will not go gently. We will unleash hell here in December.”

  37. texasPHINSfan says: Nov 30, 2009 11:55 AM

    Hines Ward is the epitome of what is the problem with players and concussions in this league; if you take the precautiounary measures to NOT play when you have concussions symptoms, you’re labeled “not tough” and your teammates call into question your heart & character.
    It’s old school-yard mentality here. The reality is a player like Roethlisberger has to weigh whether he wants to hold his health to a higher priority or his reputation in the locker room. Sadly he should not have to do so.

  38. PervyHarvin says: Nov 30, 2009 12:01 PM

    @ Deb- You are standup in a tough loss. As a fan of neither team, Ravens don’t have too much bragging rights in my opinion against a 3rd team scrub qb. Think Ben would of killed the ravens
    rulz- Very good point! What next,pro boxers wearing head gear?? LOL

  39. thekillerkeller says: Nov 30, 2009 12:34 PM

    @notlisteninganymore
    A d-bag and a piece of crap? Son, my team beat your ass twice this year. Not only did we drive on your team in the last five minutes of a game, we outmanned, outplayed, and embarrassed you at home. Who-Dey…We-Dey, twice. And yes, there are tons of excuses, “oh we didn’t have troy or ben” Again, if you completely depend on one player to make or break your team…then you just aren’t talented enough to win. Sorry, real football fans understand that…so next time you come out of shanty and wanna talk the talk, make sure you got your facts to back it up sunshine.

  40. Deb says: Nov 30, 2009 12:35 PM

    @texasPHINSfan … Excellent comment!!!!
    @notlisteninganymore …
    Your comment to VoxVeritas, Cowboys Fan Supreme:
    What a tough guy, spewing your lies and unsubstantiated rhetoric. I guess you are an Eagles fan.
    ———————————————-
    Quote of the Day!!!!!! ROFL
    I needed a laugh! You have made my day!!!!

  41. GB3Pack4 says: Nov 30, 2009 12:38 PM

    Hines’ comments are ignorant, and given his position of power and influence, irresponsible.
    I’ve lived with permanent brain damage, most of which came from a HANDFUL of concussions, for nearly half my life.
    It impacts every area of my life, every day. I’ve lost a lot of ME. If I wrote specific examples here of all the things I can no longer do at all, or can do only ineptly where once I could do them well, or just listed the lists of things I have to do one step at a time, reinventing the wheel every single time, it would take the length of a book.
    In brief, it affects reading & understanding, my ability to have normal back-and-forth conversations (when the other person speaks, I can’t remember what I was going to say; if they talk too fast, the words merge into a long string of unintelligible sound), ability to talk on the phone, mechanical things like using tools safely. not just electrical (drills) or gas-related (mowers), but ordinary handtools, e.g., saws, rakes, shovels), coordination (bumping into doors, pouring things), equilibrium (dizziness, falling), concentration (walking across the room & forgetting why you did, a hundred times a day), memory (I do some painting, but after 20 yearsor so, I still have to write down the combinations of paint that produce certain colors).
    The physical frustrations are only a part of it. The social and psychological effects are huge.
    And get this: my particular injury is labeled, “Minor Brain Injury”. MINOR. Think about that in terms of what I’ve just described, and in terms of the hits many players incur over a normal season.
    Relearning to do things you’ve done all your life (checkbooks, coins, stamps, keys, telephones, vending machines, tools, medicines, maps, clocks, recipes, calendars, any kind of schedule), is only the beginning. I no longer drive (the State didn’t discover that; I took myself off the road, now walk or bus, get lost all the time). The period when you CAN re-learn, CAN retrive some of the knowledge, only lasts a precious few months. After that, whatever cognitive abilities you have left, that’s it. That’s what you have to work with for the rest of your life.
    I love football, and the players. I watch a lot of games, and there hasn’t been a fall or a hit to the head that hasn’t made me cringe. I know what could happen to those guys. Most players get out within, what, 10-15 years? Think about the time span of an ordinary life these days – there’s a lot of time left after football, in which a brain-injured player will have to live and deal with the frustrations and fallout of this kind of injury.
    Hines’s lumping a sprained ankle or bruised rib in with head injuries is ignorant and primitive thinking. (One might even think he’s had some head injuries.) He shouldn’t be talking off the top of his head, into a microphone, on a subject he knows nothing about. As a player, he needs to educate himself, as do the others.
    Whether or not Ben is a diva or a whiner is irrelevant. This is his BRAIN.
    The game of football is violent. With the best of intentions, it will never rid itself of concussions. But if the new rules spare even a FEW players of the lifelong, draining frustrations and losses of permanent brain damage, that’s a positive. And if I can’t see my favorite player for a while, due to cautions, that’s frustrating, but at least I know they’re safely OFF the field until they can once again be safely ON it.
    To everybody who thinks this is an unimportant issue, rethink your position, please. Open your minds. THINK!

  42. Deb says: Nov 30, 2009 1:12 PM

    @GB3Pack4 ….
    Thank you so much for putting this story in its proper perspective–especially since PFT hasn’t posted anything on the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. Until people begin to understand what’s really at stake, they’ll never understand why the NFL needs to take the precautions it’s taking. It should be mandatory for any player suffering a concussion to sit out the following week regardless of the severity of the injury–just to ensure he isn’t re-injured within a short period. No player should have to choose between his teammates and his life after football. God bless.

  43. notlisteninganymore says: Nov 30, 2009 1:31 PM

    @ killerkeller
    Sorry, did not realize you were a fan of the BenGALS. Your team clearly deserved to win both games and I like the way Marvin has them playing. I NEVER MADE ANY EXCUSES for the Steelers losing either game…#1 reason they were outplayed.
    I am a “real football fan.”
    You seem to think all fans of the Steelers make excuses so you need to get your “who dey” head in order before pointing the finger at me.
    We have oned your A## for quite sometime. Good luck the rest of the way and congratulations on winning the division.

  44. Route36West says: Nov 30, 2009 2:35 PM

    Florio, I agree with your interpretation of what Hines Ward meant 100% in that interview.
    I just have 1 problem with Hines Ward and the 50% of the locker rooms logic. If they feel Ben isnt tough, wasnt being a good leader, and let his team down in basically a playoff situation why would they want him on the field anyway.
    If it was me and I felt that way I wouldnt want him to play anyway. Why would you want to put the game in the hands of a guy that wont sacrifice for you. I wouldn’t be mad about I would be happy. I would say well good its better that we found that out now and not in the playoffs.
    Im not saying I feel this way about Ben at all. Im just saying if they do feel this way then it shouldnt bother them that he didnt play.
    The only problem I have with what Ben did is that he took the snaps all week long. Which took snaps away from Dixon and hurt his preperation. If there was the tiniest chance that he would miss the Ravens game(obviously there was) he should have done the right thing and let Dixon take the first team snaps all week. I mean look Ben has been the starting QB for 6 years now and he has played the Ravens over a dozen times in his career. So its not like he really needed to be out thier taking the 1st team snaps. He would have been just fine running the second team all week and playing on Sunday.
    That is where I think he hurt his team the most. I dont have a problem with him sitting out. Concussions are a serious risk to you current and future health(Im an Eagles fan and have had multiple concussions so I know what their like). I just think he needed to be a better leader in that situation and realize how taking snaps away from Dixon would hurt his teams chances of winning an important and possibily playoff determining divisional game.
    Saying all that I think the Steelers and Big Ben will be just fine.

  45. shabadoooo says: Nov 30, 2009 2:52 PM

    If Troy is back, they will win. They will NOT miss the playoffs.

  46. spyboots says: Nov 30, 2009 3:11 PM

    Actually, what they need is to get rid of Arians.

  47. Siggy00 says: Nov 30, 2009 4:09 PM

    “If it were me, no I wouldn’t go,” Ward said. “You know what? Football’s second when it comes to someone’s life. Life is more important than football to me.”
    -Hines Ward on Ryan Clark playing in Denver
    I guess Ben Roethlisberger’s life doesn’t matter to Hines Ward as much as Clark’s, only he knows why.

  48. GB3Pack4 says: Nov 30, 2009 5:57 PM

    Deb – appreciate your comments -

  49. this class sucks says: Nov 30, 2009 8:48 PM

    Formula for all Florio articles:
    1. What happened
    2. A one line (often one word) paragraph. For example “Dramatically.” or “Wow.”
    3. Why its the biggest story of the year.
    4. All or part of a quote, or a stat or information.
    5. Analyzing one or two words of the quote/stat/information.
    6. Concluding by over simplifying or mind reading and making a bold prediction that has no barring on what he will actually predict later.
    Then comments that either think it the stupidest article of all time and Florio’s opinion makes no sense, or think Florio is right on the money (this usually depends on what team the article is on).
    This is why this site has so many followers, because Florio goes all out on every little piece of information which gets people to react. I’m not passing judgement one way or another I’m just pointing this out.

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