Bettis: What collision?

LATROBE – Ben Roethlisberger worked without a limp or a brace or even a bandage Friday after Jerome Bettis supposedly ran over him the previous day like a "speed bump".

That's the way the Steelers' quarterback described a bump with Bettis that sent reporters scrambling for their cell phones, podcams and link-up trucks.

Bettis on Friday was still scratching his head over what really happened.

"What do you mean?" Bettis asked an inquiring reporter.

The collision, Bettis was told. What about the collision?

"With Ben?" Bettis asked with an incredulous look. "I didn't even (expletive) feel it. Excuse my French; sorry about that guys. I didn't even feel it. Ben came to me at dinner and said, ‘You know, we banged knees.' I said you didn't bang my knee.

"I didn't feel it. That's the weirdest thing going. He said that to me and I had n-o-o-o-o-o clue what he was talking about."

So was Bettis surprised at the reaction by news organizations?

"I haven't even seen the news," he said. "But they're reporting that Ben's banged up?"

One TV station had an exclusive that Roethlisberger was seen limping.

"Everybody's got an exclusive," Bettis said. "But I mean, I don't think there's much to that. I hope not. Ben said that to me at dinner but I didn't even feel it and didn't make much of it."


The Steelers ended practice Friday with their one-minute drill. Actually, the first team began its hurry-up drill with 1:40 on the clock. On third-and-one, Roethlisberger rolled right to pass, reversed his field and threw 45 yards to Cedrick Wilson, who'd beaten cornerback Deshea Townsend by nearly 10 yards. Free safety Chris Hope was on the other side of the field and Wilson went in for an easy 60-yard touchdown.

"I wish I would've seen a few more plays just to be able to execute the no-huddle element of it," said coach Bill Cowher. "It was a good competitive practice, probably our best practice of the week on both sides of the ball."

Better than the much ballyhooed first practice?

"It was crisp," Cowher said. "It was crisp; it was competitive. I thought we were able to pick up some things and execute some things better than we had. I just liked the tempo and really the execution on both sides."


The Steelers practiced in the gym Friday morning because of an advancing storm (which never reached St. Vincent College) and also because Cowher wanted "to save their legs a little bit." He found it ironic when reporting that linebacker James Harrison missed the afternoon practice with an injury.

"We went into the gym to save their legs and James hurt his knee, but I think he'll be alright," Cowher said.

Running back Duce Staley, who had fluid drained from his leg Wednesday, will return to practice Saturday, while Bettis will be given a break.

Bettis broke three long runs on cutbacks during the 9-on-7 run game drill to the cheers of the crowd. In spite of his obvious good health, he'll be given Saturday off by Cowher.


Wide receiver Walter Young, the 6-foot-4 star of Wednesday's practice, is still struggling with the hamstring injury that knocked him out of last spring's mini-camp for two weeks.

Young was held out of the team scrimmage on Thursday, but returned Friday to make two brilliant catches during 7-on-7 passing drills.

In the one-minute drill for the second teamers, Young was the target of two fade passes by Charlie Batch. The first was overthrown and the second was flagged for pass interference on Chidi Iwuoma. Cowher opted to settle for a field goal from the 2-yard line to end practice.


Kendall Simmons struggled earlier this week in the heat with his diabetes, but said that had nothing to do with his poor performance in one-on-one pass-blocking drills Friday. Simmons was cleanly beaten all four times.

"I'm just missing with my hands a little bit, but that's not a problem," Simmons said. "That's something I'm not even worrying about it. That's part of it. You're not going to win all of them. No way. As long as I'm out there blocking in run drills and team pass and the one-minute (drills), and he isn't getting to the quarterback, that's what matters. I could care less about that drill over there. I'm not even worried about that over there at all. I'm going to have my days where I'm going to get them all and I'm going to have days where I look like I did today. You're going to have those days. As long as I get it done out there, that's all that matters."

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