Transcript: Art Rooney on Steelers QB situation

<b>ART ROONEY II</b> <br><br> Let me just say that we were very happy to conclude a contract extension with Tommy Maddox and get that discussion behind us and help Tommy move on and get ready for the season. I'd be happy to answer your questions. <br><br>

Why did you feel it was important to do this?
Well, it was I guess an unusual circumstance in that Tommy had signed a contract that was based on his being a back-up for an extended period of time and the unusual happened, I guess. He became a starter. It was an unusual situation from a number of different standpoints. Obviously we had other quarterbacks on the team with larger contracts and other issues like that. So after a lot of discussion we decided to make an exception to our general rule of not talking to players when they have more than one year left. We just felt it was the right thing to do in an unusual set of circumstances.

Did the draft spark the talks?

No. We always felt the timing would be roughly now. We generally try to do these things after the draft, so the timing was pretty much what we expected.

Since Ben was a first-round pick, will have a big contract, particularly by the third year or something like that, how does the front office view the situation. Obviously Cincinnati wants the guy with the big contract in now. How does the front office view the present scenario here?
Well, we're not going to tell the coach when to play the quarterbacks or who to play. But it certainly becomes a factor at some point in terms of the dollars you're paying particular players and what role they're playing on the team. So those are things, as time goes on, they'll play out as they should but certainly for now we felt with Tommy's situation this was the right approach.

Is it important to have Tommy here for the future to help Ben adjust?
We would like to, and we structured this contract in a way Tommy can be here in multiple roles. We do expect Tommy to be here for a number of years, as well as Ben.

The exception has been made. Would you extend somebody like Ward as well?
No. I called it a rare exception and I think it has more to do with the position than anything else. Quarterback is an unusual position. There's only one starter on every team, so I think it had a lot to do with the position. It's an exception that will rarely be made.

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