Packers take note of Roethlisberger accident

If it wasn't clear that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous to a National Football League player's occupation, it is now after Ben Roethlisberger's scary accident on Monday. Packers coach Mike McCarthy reminded his team of the dangers of a two-wheeler today.

Many players currently on Green Bay's roster stay clear of motorcycles. In fact, there weren't any players that took part in Jerry Parins' Cruise for Cancer charity ride last Saturday at Lambeau Field. In recent years, players such as Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle would ride their Harleys in the event. Former coach Mike Holmgren often rode his Harley to and from Lambeau Field, and to practice and back. But few, if any, current players by unofficial count on the team own a motorcycle.

"You just got to be conscious about the decisions that we make as players," said veteran long snapper Rob Davis. "Our opportunities to play this game are very short. Getting hurt on the field of play is one thing, but being hurt away from the field of play is obviously a concern to the organization and coaching staff and guys in the locker room because we're all dependent on each other."

Roethlisberger was on his black 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa -- the company calls it the world's fastest bike for legal street riding -- and heading toward an intersection on the edge of downtown Pittsburgh Monday morning. A Chrysler New Yorker traveling in the opposite direction took a left turn and collided with the motorcycle, and Roethlisberger was thrown, police said.

The other car was driven by a 62-year-old woman, police said. They didn't immediately release her name and no charges were filed.

Roethlisberger underwent seven hours of surgery for injuries sustained in the accident, including a broken jaw, nose and loss of several teeth among multiple facial fractures. He was not wearing a helmet. Roethlisberger has said in the past that he prefers not to wear a helmet when riding his motorcycle. He has pointed out Pennsylvania's 35-year-old state law requiring helmets to be worn was amended to make helmets optional.

In May 2005, Steelers coach Bill Cowher lectured Roethlisberger on the dangers of riding without a helmet.

"On a motorcycle you're fortunate to stay alive, even without a helmet," said running back Noah Herron, who was on Pittsburgh's roster last year before he was signed by the Packers off the Steelers' practice squad last November. "God was looking out for him, I think, and hopefully he'll ride a motorcycle with a helmet on."

McCarthy spoke of the risks involved with riding a motorcycle while addressing the Packers today.

"That was part of our conversation," McCarthy said. "Obviously, we're all men. Just be smart. I'm not a fan of motorcycles. I know they're popular in this part of the country, but the biggest thing is to be smart."

According to witnesses at the scene of the accident, Roethlisberger went over the handlebars, hit the windshield of another vehicle and then hit the ground. A pool of blood and oil were left behind on the street after the quarterback was taken to the hospital.

"It's not something that's written into our contract," Davis said about riding motorcycles. "You think guys are out there being safe and everything, but you can't control how other people drive. I've always looked at it as an occupational hazard, personally."

In only his second year in the NFL, Roethlisberger helped guide the Steelers to the Super Bowl title in February at age 23. Training camp for next season begins at the end of July.

Packer Report Top Stories