Here we go again with the Ben Roethlisberger injury drama. Honestly, what more does the man have to do as the leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and a leader on the Steelers team in general, for fans and media to stop hounding him every time he makes a controversial decision. It’s what Ben does, so what, can’t we get past this by now?
Ok, what was I thinking, the media will always run with stories like this but the Steeler Nation as a whole should completely ignore this type of “news”? Why, because we should be used to Roethlisberger saying or doing things that aren’t always what we think is right.
As reported by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Ben Roethlisberger was medically cleared to practice but choose not to participate on Friday: “… was cleared medically to do as much as he wanted this week, sources said, but did little besides throw the ball on the sidelines.On Friday, with Roethlisberger having yet to perform much in practice, coach Mike Tomlin informed Roethlisberger he would have to practice fully Friday to play, sources said. Otherwise, he would be ruled out on that day’s injury report.”
Of course, it went all over Twitter on Sunday as fans started talking about why Ben chose not to play when he was medically cleared to do so. I say, as a fan and blogger, “so what if he didn’t practice he obviously wasn’t ready to play!”
Just because you are cleared to practice doesn’t mean you are fully able to play and be a help, rather than hindrance, to your team. If Roethlisberger didn’t feel he was capable of making all the throws necessary and wasn’t comfortable with his health at that point, then he shouldn’t play.
We can sit here and say, well a 75% Ben is better than a 100% Charlie Batch, all we want but things aren’t always that black and white. In the NFL I’d say they are rarely clear cut at all. There are always behind the scenes decisions and circumstances that come into play that even the most in depth sources will never know.
I’ve said it for the last couple of weeks when the rumors of Ben’s return were gaining momentum, I don’t want Roethlisberger to play in this game unless he’s 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt healthy enough to make every throw and not risk permanent injury from the rib dislocation.
There is a bigger picture at stake here and that’s the post season. Fans can say, “Well we need to put the best players on the field no matter what and try to win”, and I would agree with that. However, Ben is clearly not confident enough in his throwing ability right now so that makes him not the best option.
As a fan and blogger I can say that the bigger picture is, get Ben healthy for the final 4 games, win out and make the post season. As a team owner I could think that but never say it without risking public ridicule to the tenth degree. Mike Tomlin and the Rooney’s would never admit to anything other than the latter but you know it’s been on their mind, how could it not be?
Ben has done more for this team consistently than anybody since Terry Bradshaw and the dynasty players of the 70’s. The fact that we constantly question his work ethic, attitude, decision making off the field, or anything else baffles me. I’m not a complete Roethlisberger apologist, sure he does things that drive me nuts but I’ll take the periodic Big Ben headache over the alternative anyday.
Would you really want life without Ben and his “drama”? I certainly don’t.