And let's face it, you have to be a little reckless to play in the NFL. It's part of the job description.
But there's reckless and then there's just plain stupid.
And one could make a serious argument that Roethlisberger's decision to
continue riding a motorcycle – and a crotch rocket at that – sans a
helmet, ranks right up there with some of the dumbest moves made by a
Now let me clarify something first. Roethlisberger owes Steelers fans
He's a paid performer, nothing more, nothing less.
But if recent injuries to professional athletes on motorcycles such as
the Cleveland Browns' Kellen Winslow or the Chicago Bulls' Jason Williams, both of whom wrecked their motorcycles and haven't played
their sport since, didn't show Roethlisberger that he was playing with
fire, nothing would have.
Winslow, who had his accident last spring, missed the entire 2005
season, though he's expected to return this year. Williams, meanwhile,
hasn't played since wrecking his motorcycle in 2003.
Because of accidents such as those and the one second baseman Jeff Kent
suffered in 2002 as a member of the San Francisco Giants,
Rothlisberger's motorcycle escapades have long been a source of
contention between he and Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.
In fact, last spring after Winslow's accident came to light, Cowher
asked his young quarterback to refrain from not just riding without a
helmet, but riding the motorcycle at all.
And even Roethlisberger's teammates chimed in on the subject as well.
Said linebacker Joey Porter – not often known to be the voice of
reason, "You know what they say about motorcycles: The concrete is
undefeated. It has never lost."
Nor, I would wager, have too many Chrysler New Yorkers.
Roethlisberger is a grown man. He was not breaking any laws. That much
In fact, if he chooses to ride a motorcycle with or without a helmet or
run with the bulls at Pamplona, that's his business.
But when he's injured doing so, it becomes the business of his
employers, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The third point in a standard NFL contract reads that players "will not
engage in any activity other than football which may involve a
significant risk of personal injury."
It's something in NFL circles that has become known as the "Kellen
Winslow Clause." The Browns used that clause to recoup a large portion
of the signing bonus they gave Winslow in 2004 after his motorcycle
Should we later find that Roethlisberger also tore some knee ligaments
or his rotator cuff in the accident – something that's entirely
possible – the Steelers could go the same route with Roethlisberger.
It's likely not something he thought about every time he climbed aboard
one of his many motorcycles.
Now, with any luck, Roethlisberger will have learned a very important
lesson in this case that he is not bullet-proof.
No matter how careful he is on his motorcycle, he can't account for
what another driver may do – just as Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer couldn't account for Steelers' defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen
falling on his leg during their playoff game last year and blowing up
Professional athletes don't like to think about things like that. They
don't like to admit they have the same human frailties as everyone
Maybe now, Roethlisberger will and will stay off the motorcycles.
Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter
Hard lesson learned ... we hope
Steel City Insider Top Stories
Craig Wolfley's View From The SidelineBurn the tape, bury its ashes following the Steelers' 34-3 loss
Steel City Insider2:57 AM
From The Notebook Of A Sportswriter ...Jim Wexell with many thoughts following the Steelers' dismal showing Sunday in Philadelphia
Steel City InsiderYesterday at 2:51 AM
Steelers Make No Excuses After Butt-KickingDale Lolley found truth in the Steelers' locker room, and it wasn't pretty following 34-3 loss
Steel City InsiderYesterday at 1:21 AM
Steelers Bludgeoned In PhillyAll downhill after dropped touchdown pass; here's breakdown, injury list, quotes
Steel City InsiderSunday at 5:22 PM
Steelers-Eagles A To ZA history lesson, tape review, prediction, complete breakdown and much more in this Steelers-Eagles game day preview
Steel City InsiderSaturday at 9:03 PM