Ben will 'beg and plead' to play

PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger pronounced himself fit, saying he was "ready to get out there and help the team any way I can." And then he sat out practice because of a concussion he suffered Sunday at Atlanta.

But, concerning his availability for Sunday's game at Oakland, Roethlisberger said: "If I get cleared I'm going to beg and plead to be out there."

That clearance will be up to team doctors and then Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Bill Cowher, who opted to hold Roethlisberger out of Wednesday's practice.

"He threw warming up and that was the extent of it," said Cowher. "He took a lot of mental reps [Wednesday]. To get him cleared physically to go out there and do things, we have to get that clearance by the doctors. We'll be able to tell more by [Thursday] and physically we'll see what the capabilities will be in terms of being able to sustain the length of a practice. Then we'll see how he feels on Friday and probably have to make a decision."

Roethlisberger was knocked out of Sunday's game by Atlanta defensive tackle Chauncey Davis, who decked the Steelers' quarterback after he threw a third-quarter pass.

"The last thing I remember is throwing the ball to Hines[Ward] and seeing him and I tried to duck out of it," Roethlisberger said. "As I ducked, I remember getting hit in the chin and just feeling like I busted my whole jaw or something. One of their players said something to me and that was the last thing I kind of remember."

Roethlisberger was taken off the field but returned to the sideline in the fourth quarter.

"I tried to go back in the game but they didn't let that happen," he said. "Then they tried to get me to leave and I said, no, I've got to get back out there. The main thing was just getting back out there on the sidelines so that the guys could see that I was out there and supporting them."

Roethlisberger has since taken two ImPACT tests. The team examined results of the first test and Cowher said Tuesday he was "very encouraged." The results of the test taken Wednesday morning will be back this morning and will determine whether Roethlisberger can practice today.

The biggest concern has been "trying to get rid of the headaches," Roethlisberger said. "I think the biggest thing is to make sure that they're cleared up for this weekend."

Did Roethlisberger have a headache Wednesday?

"Not so bad," he said.

Roethlisberger, of course, suffered a concussion when he crashed his motorcycle June 12, but he said, "I didn't have any concussion reflexes. The biggest thing after the accident was just not remembering."

Roethlisberger said the concussion from that accident won't have any impact on whether he'll play Sunday.

"If the concussion was a week before, maybe," he said. "From talking to Dr. [Joseph] Maroon, I think that people always speculate that after you have one concussion you're susceptible to more and then more on top of that. But from what we've researched and understood is that as time passed, that susceptibility goes away."

How does Roethlisberger describe his ability to bounce back from yet another injury?

"You get your body prepared for lifting, and I got my head prepared for concussions about three or four months ago," he said. "I guess I'm prepared to bounce back when I get hit hard."

Was he worried about a jaw that has been rebuilt with several plates and screws?

"I was when I got hit," he said. "I wasn't worried about the front of it because I've got all the plates. I've got a tough jaw; I can take a good shot. I was worried about the back of it. It was a little sore, but I think it's going to be okay."

Roethlisberger has been a hot quarterback of late. After a slow start he completed 32 of 42 passes in the last two games for 476 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. Cowher is optimistic his quarterback will bounce back from this injury.

"I feel very comfortable with the fact our doctor here, Dr. Maroon, is one of the experts that a lot of people have come to in regards to this injury, so I'm very comfortable," Cowher said. "To me, this is not my decision it's the doctor's decision. Once the doctors have cleared him and he is comfortable with that and then it comes down to working with him and seeing where he's at mentally and then certainly understanding that he's okay physically."


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