Big Ben rejoins Steelers, in shape

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ben Roethlisberger took the field with his teammates on Tuesday but will not talk to the media, while Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider.com reports that Big Ben is in “much better shape” than he was a couple of months ago.

Roethlisberger appeared to be overweight when he showed up to workouts in March, but it’s not unusual for him to be out of shape at this point during the year. If Wexell’s report is true and he’s in much better shape now, maybe the events that transpired over these last couple of months woke him up.

And what a relief that would be for the Steelers. They don’t need Roethlisberger to clean up his act until he gets back from his suspension and then fall right back into the same pitfalls that got him in trouble in the first place. They need him to make wholesale changes so they don’t have to make a drastic decision, such as dumping him entirely.

Time will tell if the new, slimmer Big Ben has improved his decision-making.


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Big Ben finishes behavioral evaluation, but will he change?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has completed his behavioral evaluation ordered by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

The behavioral evaluations are just part of Roethlisberger’s punishment after he was accused of sexual assault for the second time in less than a year. If he fulfills his requirements, Goodell may reduce the quarterback’s suspension from six to four games and while Big Ben’s camp is hopeful that he’ll be able to participate in team activities soon, the Steelers have no timetable for his return.

Goodell is doing a thorough job in this situation, but who knows if Big Ben has learned anything – or will learn anything. He may be fulfilling his requirements in order to get back on the field, but that doesn’t mean he has changed. Has he been humbled by this experience? Will he make smarter decisions in the future? Will he strive not to put himself in situations where it may lead to him getting into more trouble?

Roethlisberger is a young, single guy. To think he’s going to spend the rest of his football career staying at home and nuzzling up to the fireplace while watching HGTV and sipping a glass of wine is unrealistic. But in order for him to avoid future punishment and embarrassment, he needs to improve his decision-making. Steeler fans can only hope that this process will lead to a wiser, more humbled Ben Roethlisberger.


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Eminem takes shot at Big Ben in new song

Never one to be shy about taking swipes at celebrities and athletes, rapper Eminem made Ben Roethlisberger his latest victim in one of his new songs.

From E Online.com:

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ star quarterback joins an elite roster of those with the dubious honor of being dissed in rhyme by Eminem. In this case, Big Ben’s recent off-field problems are name-checked in the new Em cut “Despicable,” which debuted online yesterday.

“I’d rather turn this club into a bar room brawl/Get as rowdy as Roethlisberger in a bathroom stall,” Eminem raps.

The line references a March incident in which Roethlisberger allegedly sexually assaulted a 20-year-old college student in a women’s restroom in a Georgia nightclub.

I haven’t heard the song yet, but it can’t be any worse than the ultra-horrendous “We Made You,” in which he dresses up like Tony Romo for the video. I’m not a big fan of Eminem’s “work” as it is, but I’ve dropped deuces that were more impressive than that song. (Although I’ll be the first one to admit that “Til I Collapse” will always be on my MP3 player when I hit the gym.)

It’s kind of amazing that Big Ben has gone from two-time Super Bowl MVP to the butt of one of Eminem’s jokes in just a couple of years.


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According to former teammates, Big Ben wasn’t popular in locker room before scandal

Let the piling on Ben Roethlisberger begin.

ESPN’s Kelly Naqi recently did a story for “Outside the Lines” in which details emerged about Big Ben’s popularity (or lack thereof) among his Pittsburgh teammates. Two of his former teammates, Najeh Devenport and Mike Logan, were quoted in the story and what they had to say won’t help Roethlisberger fix his already damaged image.

From Yahoo! Sports.com:

• Davenport estimated that about 60 percent of the locker room felt like Roethlisberger thought he was “bigger than the team,” and not focused on winning.

• Davenport also discussed a time when Joey Porter(notes) called out Roethlisberger in a team meeting for being the last one in to practice and the first one to leave. Porter also accused Roethlisberger of not being dedicated to the team, and criticized him for not fraternizing with his teammates.

• Mike Logan confirmed the incident where Porter addressed Roethlisberger, and said that all the things Porter mentioned were already being talked about in the locker room.

• Someone identified only as “a close friend of a Steelers player” said that the reason Roethlisberger had a bodyguard was because of an incident where a man put a gun to Roethlisberger’s head because Roethlisberger was involved with the man’s girlfriend.

• Naqi spoke with people who work at Pittsburgh bars and nightclubs, and they described Ben as someone who was condescending to the staffs and rude to other customers. One bar owner said Roethlisberger always expected he and his entourage to be given free food and drinks.

I remember when news started to break left and right about Michael Vick’s involvement in dog fighting. One day he was being indicted, and the next came intimate details about how he had always spent money carelessly, was always mixed up with the wrong people and how the Falcons were always covering up for him. So this story about Roethlisberger isn’t shocking. In fact, it would have been more surprising if new details didn’t emerge about what a piece of crap he is.
Usually when a celebrity is down, that’s when it’s the perfect time to kick him. I’m not saying these new details aren’t true (how would I know either way?), but this story seems incredibly convenient. Everyone already thinks Roethlisberger is a slimy douche, so why not toss more fuel onto the fire? If he’s going to burn, let’s make him burn.

It’s all about timing. Had this story not come out on the tails of his latest sexual assault incident, then nobody would have cared. Either that, or we all would have written this off as just another athlete that thinks he’s above it and then we would have all quickly moved on.

Regardless, Big Ben has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to change the way people perceive him. If it matters to him, then it sounds like he’s going to have to make wholesale changes immediately. And his former teammates aren’t making things easier on him, that’s for sure.


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Roethlisberger speaks for first time since suspension

Speaking for the first time since commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for six games next season, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he would not appeal the suspension and would comply with what is asked of him.

From ESPN.com:

“The Commissioner’s decision to suspend me speaks clearly that more is expected of me,” Roethlisberger said in a statement posted on the Steelers’ website and e-mailed to media. “I am accountable for the consequences of my actions.

“Though I have committed no crime, I regret that I have fallen short of the values instilled in me by my family. I will not appeal the suspension and will comply with what is asked of me — and more.”

“Missing games will be devastating for me,” Roethlisberger said in the statement. “I am sorry to let down my teammates and the entire Steelers fan base. I am disappointed that I have reached this point and will not put myself in this situation again.

“I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given in my life and will make the necessary improvements.”

Some have painted Roethlisberger as a rapist, which is unfair given the details that have emerged from the story. The victim can’t even given an account of what happened that night, so how can anyone else draw conclusions without it being speculation?

But whether or not he committed a crime, he needs to learn that he can’t put himself in these situations. This is the second time in under a year that he’s been accused of sexual assault and if there’s a third time, he can all but be assured of his exit in Pittsburgh. (He would no doubt face a stiffer punishment from the league, too.)

Only time will tell if Big Ben has learned anything from this ordeal.


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