Art Rooney II: Good afternoon and thanks for being with us. This is a special day in Pittsburgh. On behalf of my father and everyone in the Steelers organization, I would like to welcome Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers organization. There has been some talk about this being a historic occasion. It has been almost 25 years since we drafted a quarterback in the first round.
I was recalling that the other day. I remember when we drafted
Mark Malone. I was sitting in the draft room and I turned to one of
our coaches and I said, what position is he going to play? Of
course, Mark went on to be a receiver and do some other things
for us. I just want to make sure that everybody understands that
we drafted Ben to be a quarterback. Although he does do some
punting, he may be the emergency punter at times.
When we started our preparations for the draft this year, we went
into it really not thinking that we were desperate to draft a
quarterback, but that if somebody with the talent of Ben
Roethlisberger was there, that we were going to go ahead and
pull the trigger at 11. We are very happy that we had that
opportunity. Now, I would like to have Ben and Coach Cowher
come up, and we are going to present him with part of the
uniform that he is going to be wearing for us.
It now gives me pleasure to introduce Ben Roethlisberger.
Ben Roethlisberger: It is finally over. I am happy to be a Steeler.
Q: When you visited, did you expect to end up here?
Roethlisberger: It was my only visit. I think it was a sign of things
to come. I am happy to be back here and I am glad this is where
I will call home.
Q: How much sleep have you had in the past 48 hours with all
the travel and media attention?
Roethlisberger: It's been hectic. I have said many times leading
up to this point, I felt like there has been a balloon inside me that
just keeps filling up. Finally, I know where I am going and the
balloon has let all the air out. I am happy to be here and I have
been sleeping just fine now that I know I am a Steeler.
Q: (Again) Growing up in Findlay, Ohio did you grow up a Browns
Roethlisberger: No, I did not. That seems to be the common
question, but I was not a Browns fan.
Q: Was that your college coach that was so upset when the
Giants did not select you?
Roethlisberger: It was somebody; yes that was him. He is an
emotional guy. He just wants what is best for me and he is
extremely happy now. He thinks this is a great organization and I
agree with him.
Q: Was that because you did not go to the Giants or he would
have liked to see you go higher?
Roethlisberger: I think he was more upset because two
quarterbacks were taken ahead of me. He thinks I am the best.
That's what I think it was more about rather than the team.
Q: Did you think you might go to Cleveland?
Roethlisberger: Coming into this you set aside a few teams that
you know are interested in quarterbacks and Cleveland was one
of them so it was an option that might present itself. Then when
they took their pick it came down to the Steelers we knew had a
little bit of interest. I am glad it came down to it.
Q: Were you glad they passed and you had that opportunity.
When they did pass were you hoping Pittsburgh selected you?
Roethlisberger: I was hoping.
Q: Are you prepared to be compared to those two guys (Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers) for the rest of your career?
Roethlisberger: Well they, especially Eli Manning, has been
getting a lot of hype leading up to this and I said coming into this,
it all boils down to just football. That is what I have been wanting
to do for a long time, just get on the field and start playing. Once
we get on the field there will be separation.
Q: What do you do that they don't and what do they do that you
Roethlisberger: I think both of those guys are very talented
quarterbacks, great guys, I know them both. I think I bring a little
more athleticism than both of them, but I guess we will have to
wait and see what all three of us bring to the table now.
Q: What is behind the number 7 and how long have you worn it?
Roethlisberger: I have been wearing it since I was a freshman in
high school. I first got it because of John Elway and I was hoping
I could continue to wear it and I do.
Q: One NFL coach compared you to John Elway. Is there
something that elevates you above the other two quarterbacks
that you just mentioned?
Roethlisberger: I think that obviously it is great to be compared to
any of those great players of the past. I think everyone seems to
think they have better systems, they played against better teams,
have been born in a football family. Whatever it is I feel pretty
much the same way. I feel that once I get on the field my will to
win is much greater than both of them. I don't know theirs but I
know mine is. I think the hard nosed and the toughness is going
to help me prevail.
Q: Are you anxious to get the growing pains over sooner than
Roethlisberger: I am willing to do whatever the team asks of me.
Whatever is best for this organization I am willing to do. Whether
that is play right away, sit, I am ready to learn behind the
quarterbacks. Whatever they are willing to teach me I am willing
Q: At what point in the season did you know you were coming
Roethlisberger: We were obviously waiting to make sure we
made it through the season healthy and won a championship.
Going into the championship game it was 95 percent chance
that if I stayed healthy and we won the game then I was going to
Q: Does that frustrate you when people question your
Roethlisberger: It does a little bit, but now I am here. They will
see how we compete.
Q: What are your thoughts about coming here with the rich
Roethlisberger: It is a storied tradition here. Great players have
come through here and great teams. That is why it is such an
honor to come here and try and carry on the tradition and
hopefully get another trophy case with some more Super Bowl
trophies in it.
Q: Does it add any pressure in your mind when people compare
you to John Elway?
Roethlisberger: Absolutely not. I think it is a great compliment to
be compared to people like that, but I am trying to be my own
quarterback, my own guy. I want to have a name for myself so
someday somebody will be comparing a quarterback to me.
Q: How apprehensive are you about dealing with the situation
where there are two established veterans where you are going to
be competing for their jobs?
Roethlisberger: I am willing to do what the team asks of me. I
want to talk to Tommy (Maddox) and Charlie (Batch) about what
is going on and absorb any knowledge I can from them.
Whatever they are willing to help me with I am going to take it all
in because I want to be the best I can be and I am going to need
those guys to help me hopefully as much as I can help them with
Q: Do you think it will help you with Charlie Batch making the
same transition, with him also coming from a MAC school?
Roethlisberger: I think we have a common bond now. We have
talked about it a couple of times. Coming from the MAC we both
kind of have that underdog mentality. I think it definitely helps.
Q: When did you talk to Charlie Batch?
Roethlisberger: I talked to Charlie when I came in and visited on
that one trip that I took here, and then actually just saw him a
bit ago in the quarterback room.
Q: Have you talked to Tommy (Maddox) at all?
Roethlisberger: I have not.
Q: Will you graduate from Miami?
Roethlisberger: Yes, soon.
Big Ben in the Burgh
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