Hines Ward calls out Ben Roethlisberger for not playing

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I just watched Hines Ward on the NBC pregame show and was pretty shocked to hear him discuss the Ben Roethlisberger situation. Roethlisberger won’t play against the Ravens tonight due to a concussion that he suffered last week, leaving the Steelers with third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon, who will make his first NFL start.

Hines was surprisingly candid, as he acknowledged that the Steeler locker room was basically split as to whether Roethlisberger should play. He never came out and clearly said he supported the decision to have Big Ben sit, and Bob Costas tried his best to get Ward to acknowledge that head injuries like concussions should be treated differently.

In his defense, Ward was trying to explain the mentality of players who want to be on the field if they can walk. Frankly, it’s that mentality that necessitates a new policy on concussions, particularly in college and high school where this has become a real problem.

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Big Ben plans to play despite concussion

With the Steelers in the midst of fighting for a playoff spot, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plans on playing against the Ravens on Sunday despite suffering a concussion last week in a loss to the Chiefs.

From ESPN.com:

“It’s part of the nature of the beast of playing this game. It’s a violent, physical contact sport and there’s a chance you’re going to get hit,” Roethlisberger said Thursday. “You guys don’t talk about the bruises we have all over our body. If I showed you a bruise on my shoulder and a bruise on my shin, it wouldn’t get talked about as much. It’s a violent sport we play.”
Roethlisberger, who is having his best season statistically despite the Steelers’ erratic play, is evidence of that.

The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback’s latest concussion occurred when his head accidentally struck the knee of Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson while he was being tackled during Pittsburgh’s 27-24 overtime loss Sunday.

The play was subsequently wiped out by a holding call.

“It just kind of felt like I got hit pretty hard. Kind of said, ‘Let me catch my breath real quick,’ and by that time the trainers were out there, so I didn’t get a chance to get up,” Roethlisberger said.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Roethlisberger will play. He’s one of the toughest players in the league and has shown no concussion symptoms since returning to practice on Wednesday.

That said, I’m not a doctor and I have no idea how he’s feeling. If he suffers a jarring hit on Sunday, then it stands to reason that team doctors will pull him to risk further injury. If that happens, Pittsburgh would likely see its playoff hopes go down with him.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Big Ben to start against Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger practiced Monday and will start this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Ben RoethlisbergerQuarterback Ben Roethlisberger said today he passed his final post-concussion test and will play on Sunday when the Steelers open the playoffs against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field.

Roethlisberger left the Steelers final regular-season game on Dec. 28 with a concussion just before halftime. Roethlisberger is taking the field this afternoon to practice for the first time since his injury.

He said he’s taken several tests over the past week, that he feels fine and will take no further precautions.

The Steelers’ offensive line needs to protect this guy or else there’s a great chance we’ll be seeing Byron Leftwich sometime this postseason. For as good as the Pittsburgh defense is, the Steelers’ offensive line has issues and Big Ben has always had problems hanging onto the ball too long. Regardless, this is great news for the Steelers and this is a great example of how big having that off week is in the playoffs.

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