New beginning for Ben

The Steelers open the season Sunday at Cleveland. The circumstances this year are quite different than those from a year ago, particularly for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

PITTSBURGH – Just for a warm-up, Ben Roethlisberger was tossed a softball question by reporters yesterday. He dropped it – understandably.

The Steelers' quarterback was asked if this is a better opener for him than last year.

"Who did we play last year in the opener?" Roethlisberger said as he sorted through his memory.

When told he didn't play, the light went on.

"I guess it will be better," he said with a sheepish grin.

Of course, last year was a mess for Roethlisberger. He came back from the motorcycle accident at least 20 pounds lighter and looked it. Worn out from training camp and worn out from the repetition of the same daily set of questions, the world weighed on his shoulders. He then underwent an appendectomy and had to miss the opener against Miami. Roethlisberger played the next 15 games and suffered through the worst pro season of his young career.

But he's back. Roethlisberger hasn't put the weight back on, but he looks twice as healthy as he did a year ago. In fact, he's feeling better about a lot of things.

"I feel a lot healthier, being able to work out a lot earlier than I did last year, being able to make contributions in the offense and working with Bruce (Arians)," he said of his offensive coordinator. "Working with him, I feel a lot more comfortable in this offense and where we're at as a team.

"When I say more comfortable out there, what I mean is that I know more about what guys are doing. I'm able to get guys into position, even in the no-huddle offense. I'm able to calls plays and stuff. I definitely feel more comfortable and the guys feel more comfortable than ever."

It's always a chicken-or-the-egg type of deal with a quarterback and the rest of the offense. When one's comfortable, so is the other.

"I think the opportunities will be there," said wide receiver Santonio Holmes. "I think there are more opportunities than last year. B.A., he's ready to let the ball fly."

And so is B.R. He worked harder than ever this offseason and he's ready to show everyone the payoff. He might even call it his redemption song.

"Absolutely," Roethlisberger said. "Because of the way that I played last season, I felt I let the guys down. I didn't want to let that happen again. For me, whether it was working out earlier or whatever it was, I had to put in a lot of work.

"But it's a lot of things. It's a new offense that I think guys feel more comfortable with, myself included. I think it's a lot of things that are making people excited."

Fans and media, and perhaps even Roethlisberger, tried to brush off the harrowing offseason of 2006. The excitement level following the Super Bowl was at a peak. A little motorcycle wreck wasn't going to get in anyone's way, and then the season began. Roethlisberger threw 20 interceptions in 11 games, matching his total of his first two seasons in the league. One of those awful games was at Cleveland, where he threw three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. The Steelers rallied late to beat the Browns, 24-20.

"We played terrible," he said. "We weren't on the same page and we weren't making plays. The defense played great and did a good job keeping us in it. Being able to take us down the field at the end of the game, the line took us all the way down there and the wide receivers made some plays and we were able to find a way to win it at the end."

Roethlisberger threw a short touchdown pass to Willie Parker with 32 seconds left for the win, and it marked a turnaround for Roethlisberger. He threw only six more interceptions in the final six games and hopes it will carry over into his fourth NFL season. The hard part's over and a new beginning, this one back at Cleveland, is possible.

"All of a sudden we came in today and everyone's alive again," he said. "We all feel an excitement and energy to finally have a meaningful game."

It should be one he won't forget so easily.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\nPITTSBURGH – Just for a warm-up, Ben Roethlisberger was tossed a softball question by reporters yesterday. He dropped it – understandably.\r\n

\r\nThe Steelers' quarterback was asked if this is a better opener for him than last year.\r\n

\r\n\"Who did we play last year in the opener?\" Roethlisberger said as he sorted through his memory.\r\n

\r\nWhen told he didn't play, the light went on. \r\n

\r\n\"I guess it will be better,\" he said with a sheepish grin.\r\n

\r\nOf course, last year was a mess for Roethlisberger. He came back from the motorcycle accident at least 20 pounds lighter and looked it. Worn out from training camp and worn out from the repetition of the same daily set of questions, the world weighed on his shoulders. He then underwent an appendectomy and had to miss the opener against Miami. Roethlisberger played the next 15 games and suffered through the worst pro season of his young career. \r\n

\r\nBut he's back. Roethlisberger hasn't put the weight back on, but he looks twice as healthy as he did a year ago. In fact, he's feeling better about a lot of things.\r\n

\r\n\"I feel a lot healthier, being able to work out a lot earlier than I did last year, being able to make contributions in the offense and working with Bruce (Arians),\" he said of his offensive coordinator. \"Working with him, I feel a lot more comfortable in this offense and where we're at as a team.\r\n

\r\n\"When I say more comfortable out there, what I mean is that I know more about what guys are doing. I'm able to get guys into position, even in the no-huddle offense. I'm able to calls plays and stuff. I definitely feel more comfortable and the guys feel more comfortable than ever.\"\r\n

\r\nIt's always a chicken-or-the-egg type of deal with a quarterback and the rest of the offense. When one's comfortable, so is the other.\r\n

\r\n\"I think the opportunities will be there,\" said wide receiver Santonio Holmes. \"I think there are more opportunities than last year. B.A., he's ready to let the ball fly.\"\r\n

\r\nAnd so is B.R. He worked harder than ever this offseason and he's ready to show everyone the payoff. He might even call it his redemption song.\r\n

\r\n\"Absolutely,\" Roethlisberger said. \"Because of the way that I played last season, I felt I let the guys down. I didn't want to let that happen again. For me, whether it was working out earlier or whatever it was, I had to put in a lot of work.\r\n

\r\n\"But it's a lot of things. It's a new offense that I think guys feel more comfortable with, myself included. I think it's a lot of things that are making people excited.\"\r\n

\r\nFans and media, and perhaps even Roethlisberger, tried to brush off the harrowing offseason of 2006. The excitement level following the Super Bowl was at a peak. A little motorcycle wreck wasn't going to get in anyone's way, and then the season began. Roethlisberger threw 20 interceptions in 11 games, matching his total of his first two seasons in the league. One of those awful games was at Cleveland, where he threw three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. The Steelers rallied late to beat the Browns, 24-20.\r\n

\r\n\"We played terrible,\" he said. \"We weren't on the same page and we weren't making plays. The defense played great and did a good job keeping us in it. Being able to take us down the field at the end of the game, the line took us all the way down there and the wide receivers made some plays and we were able to find a way to win it at the end.\"\r\n

\r\nRoethlisberger threw a short touchdown pass to Willie Parker with 32 seconds left for the win, and it marked a turnaround for Roethlisberger. He threw only six more interceptions in the final six games and hopes it will carry over into his fourth NFL season. The hard part's over and a new beginning, this one back at Cleveland, is possible.\r\n

\r\n\"All of a sudden we came in today and everyone's alive again,\" he said. \"We all feel an excitement and energy to finally have a meaningful game.\"\r\n

\r\nIt should be one he won't forget so easily.","mobileBody":" PITTSBURGH – Just for a warm-up, Ben Roethlisberger was tossed a softball question by reporters yesterday. He dropped it – understandably.

The Steelers' quarterback was asked if this is a better opener for him than last year.

\"Who did we play last year in the opener?\" Roethlisberger said as he sorted through his memory.

When told he didn't play, the light went on.

\"I guess it will be better,\" he said with a sheepish grin.

Of course, last year was a mess for Roethlisberger. He came back from the motorcycle accident at least 20 pounds lighter and looked it. Worn out from training camp and worn out from the repetition of the same daily set of questions, the world weighed on his shoulders. He then underwent an appendectomy and had to miss the opener against Miami. Roethlisberger played the next 15 games and suffered through the worst pro season of his young career.

But he's back. Roethlisberger hasn't put the weight back on, but he looks twice as healthy as he did a year ago. In fact, he's feeling better about a lot of things.

\"I feel a lot healthier, being able to work out a lot earlier than I did last year, being able to make contributions in the offense and working with Bruce (Arians),\" he said of his offensive coordinator. \"Working with him, I feel a lot more comfortable in this offense and where we're at as a team.

\"When I say more comfortable out there, what I mean is that I know more about what guys are doing. I'm able to get guys into position, even in the no-huddle offense. I'm able to calls plays and stuff. I definitely feel more comfortable and the guys feel more comfortable than ever.\"

It's always a chicken-or-the-egg type of deal with a quarterback and the rest of the offense. When one's comfortable, so is the other.

\"I think the opportunities will be there,\" said wide receiver Santonio Holmes. \"I think there are more opportunities than last year. B.A., he's ready to let the ball fly.\"

And so is B.R. He worked harder than ever this offseason and he's ready to show everyone the payoff. He might even call it his redemption song.

\"Absolutely,\" Roethlisberger said. \"Because of the way that I played last season, I felt I let the guys down. I didn't want to let that happen again. For me, whether it was working out earlier or whatever it was, I had to put in a lot of work.

\"But it's a lot of things. It's a new offense that I think guys feel more comfortable with, myself included. I think it's a lot of things that are making people excited.\"

Fans and media, and perhaps even Roethlisberger, tried to brush off the harrowing offseason of 2006. The excitement level following the Super Bowl was at a peak. A little motorcycle wreck wasn't going to get in anyone's way, and then the season began. Roethlisberger threw 20 interceptions in 11 games, matching his total of his first two seasons in the league. One of those awful games was at Cleveland, where he threw three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. The Steelers rallied late to beat the Browns, 24-20.

\"We played terrible,\" he said. \"We weren't on the same page and we weren't making plays. The defense played great and did a good job keeping us in it. Being able to take us down the field at the end of the game, the line took us all the way down there and the wide receivers made some plays and we were able to find a way to win it at the end.\"

Roethlisberger threw a short touchdown pass to Willie Parker with 32 seconds left for the win, and it marked a turnaround for Roethlisberger. He threw only six more interceptions in the final six games and hopes it will carry over into his fourth NFL season. The hard part's over and a new beginning, this one back at Cleveland, is possible.

\"All of a sudden we came in today and everyone's alive again,\" he said. \"We all feel an excitement and energy to finally have a meaningful game.\"

It should be one he won't forget so easily.","skipOnMobile":false,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-09-05T15:57:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:466846]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:466846]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"9949","name":"Miami (Oh) - Football"},{"id":"500","name":"Miami (Oh)"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh Steelers"}],"nodes":["2981999","99","712"],"isActive":true,"inActiveAndMemberHasPublishRights":false,"createdOn":"2007-09-05T16:17:32.65","createdById":"166721","modifiedOn":"2014-07-06T00:19:57.78","modifiedBy":"51458","imgs":[],"viewStats":[],"hasVideo":false,"brandUnsafe":false,"breakingNews":false},"editorsChoice":{"siteUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1704973-energy-bringers-badasses","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1701783-a-day-in-the-life?preview=true","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1644408-long-may-heath-run","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1626251-ups-and-downs-shazier-playcaller","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1614465-qa-peezy-deebo"],"networkUrls":["http://www.scout.com/college/michigan/story/1712449-najee-harris-mom-a-fan-of-harbaugh","http://www.scout.com/story/1712173-dez-bryant-on-mic-let-s-put-up-50","http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1711551-best-coaching-fit-lsu","http://www.scout.com/college/football/story/1712321-kansas-true-freshman-delivers-big-hit?s=143"],"topRibbonWidgets":[],"carouselStoryUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1712144-steelers-turn-hubbard","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711853-buzz-about-new-steelers-starters","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711542-all-22-review-steelers-eagles","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711135-craig-wolfleys-view-sideline","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1710728-notebook-sportswriter"],"storyStreamUrls":[],"storyStreamBlacklistUrls":[],"videoStories":[{"type":"StorySummary","containerType":"StorySummary","id":"1712144","siteId":"68","isPublicSite":true,"subdomain":"pit","canonicalUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1712144-steelers-turn-to-hubbard","shortUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1712144-steelers-turn-to-hubbard","siteName":"Steel City Insider","forumName":"","friendlySubdomain":"Pittsburgh","title":"Steelers Turn To Hubbard","subtitle":"","seotitle":"Yet another injury thins offensive line","caption":"","deck":"Practice injury to B.J. 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