Roethlisberger treats teammate to opener
NEW YORK -- A towering 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 241 pounds, Ben Roethlisberger stood behind first base watching the Yankees take batting practice hours before the men in pinstripes played their first home game of 2012. The Steelers quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion had a purpose behind his visit to the Bronx, and it wasn’t just to soak in the morning sun, Yankee tradition or enjoy a hot dog and tasty beverage.
Roethlisberger’s father Ken is a native New Yorker and a Yankees fan, which essentially give Big Ben little choice over baseball loyalty. Over time Roethlisberger became friends with Derek Jeter and took advantage of fortuitous timing to attend Friday’s game as a birthday offering to his teammate, offensive tackle Willie Colon.
Growing up in Lima, Ohio, Roethlisberger admired Don Mattingly and Jeter, each for their attributes as a players and individuals.
“How do you not watch that guy? He’s such a good player, a good person and a good role model for a lot of people,” Roethlisberger told YESNetwork.com regarding the Yankees captain. “He’s a guy who’s done it for a long time. I think a lot of people, athletes and people in general should model their lives after a guy like that.”
Throughout his seven-year career, Roethlisberger has displayed a Spartan-like will to win. At 23 years old he became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl when he led the Steelers past the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. He earned his second ring in four seasons after piloting a game-winning drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left to win Super Bowl XLIII. Watching Jeter perform has influenced Roethlisberger’s leadership qualities when manning the huddle with a game on the line.
“Just staying calm,” Roethlisberger said. “I think a lot of guys at certain times in a game they get a little antsy. Just being calm, cool and collective. I think if you ever watch Derek, no matter what point of the game it is, World Series, whatever it is, he’s always cool, calm and collective.”
A high ankle sprain limited Roethlisberger down the stretch of the 2011 season, which contributed to a Week 15 loss in San Francisco that ended up costing the Steelers a first-round bye. Roethlisberger continued to endure the pain and rallied the Steelers to overtime against the Broncos in an AFC Wild Card game before Tim Tebow turned out their lights. His leg nearly fully healed, Roethlisberger is preparing for minicamp, hoping to stay healthy, but again equipped to deal with the pain.
“For me it’s about my guys, not letting them down and wanting to be out there for them. I want them to know I’m always there for them.”
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