Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took questions from the media after practice on Thursday.
Two of them.
Then, he was gone.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was there, and he has transcribed Ben’s words.
Here’s the opening portion of his comments, per Bouchette: “I appreciate it guys. I know you guys have been waiting for a long
time to talk to me as I have to you. I just wanted to make a quick, let
you guys know how good it is to be back on the field. It’s been a long
time away, it’s been hard but I put a long time and effort and working
hard both on and off the field while I’ve been gone. It’s not the same, I
love football to death. But I think it’s meant more to be out here with
my teammates, my brothers, my family, if you will. So that’s what has
really been neat about being back out here.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into my life, decisions that I’ve made in
the past that I’ve been sitting at home thinking about things. I’ve been
working closely with the Commissioner on ways to make changes,
corrections. So, I’m looking forward to the second chance and a second
opportunity, not just in football because I think everyone knows what
you’re going to get in football, but in life. I think that’s what’s kind
of more important.
“Like I said I’m happy to be back out here, even kind of happy to see
you guys again. So, maybe I’ll take a question or two.”
First question: “You got a lot of public support from your teammates; do you see this as a new beginning?” [Editor’s note: “A lot of public support from your teammates”? Really? Maybe I’ve simply been asleep. For three months.]
Answer: “Yeah, it’s been great to read and hear from those guys, not just text
messages and calls they send to me but to read the things in the media
they said. So I say it’s great to be out here with my brothers because
they really are family to me. Like I said, I spent a lot of time
evaluating and looking at my life both on and off the field. I think
this is time for me to kind of close the chapter of the last couple
years of my life and move on to a new one, kind of a new start. I’m kind
of really excited about it.”
Second question: “What kind of changes are you talking about that you want to make?”
Answer: “A lot of them are personal things, you know, which is just something
that I need to do. But it’s been neat being able to really re-evaluate
my life and spend time with my family and kind of re-evaluate and
re-figure what’s important in my life. That’s me . . . evaluating what I
need to do and be smarter when it comes to certain things. Like I said
it’s a new chapter and I’m looking forward to it and it starts with
football. I’m glad to be back here . . . I’ll be talking to you guys a lot
Sorry, but in cases like this there are no “personal things.” If Ben wants folks in Pittsburgh to forgive and forget his Fuzzy Navel-fueled foibles, he needs to be candid, he needs to be blunt, and he needs to be real about the demons that led him to lead a lifestyle resulting in a civil lawsuit for sexual assault in Nevada and a near-miss My Cousin Vinny prosecution in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Though the fringes of the practice field may not be the best place to come clean, we continue to believe that Roethlisberger should sit down with former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw for a brutal, no-holds-barred, one-on-one interview in which Bradshaw beats him up, and in which Big Ben takes it like Kevin Bacon.