Glad to see you all here for Ben's 26th birthday. I am really pleased to announce that Ben Roethlisberger will be with the Steelers for a long time. We've reached an agreement on an extended contract for eight years. We look forward to winning more Super Bowls and having a great season. It's going to be a lot of fun. He's been great the whole time that he's been here. He's a great person on and off the field. He comes from a great family and we're really pleased. I'd like to commend Bruce and Ryan Tollnar, and Omar (Khan) for the job they did with negotiations. I'd like to thank Ben for how he handled the situation. He's a Steeler and he'll always be a Steeler. We're very pleased with that.
I'd like to say thank you to the Steelers and the Rooney family, coach Tomlin, Omar, Kevin (Colbert), my teammates, my family. As Mr. Rooney said, it was my birthday yesterday and this is a great birthday present to know that I'm going to be a Steeler for a long time. I told them I didn't want to go anywhere the day I walked in and that's stayed true. I'm glad I've got the opportunity to be here a little bit longer and hopefully we'll do another one of these and I'll finish my career in black and gold. I said a week ago that I look good in black and gold and nothing else. I have a lot of thank yous, especially my teammates. I got a lot of text messages, a lot of calls from the guys and it means a lot to be able to be here and be their leader. It's an opportunity now for me to get more involved in the community and with foundations and helping other guys out; just to be a leader with the Pittsburgh Steelers for years to come.
It seemed like a pretty simple process, would you agree with that?
BR: It was great. Like I said, a lot of thanks goes to my agents and to the organization, the Rooney family, Omar and Kevin. They said they wanted to get this done quickly and quietly, and I feel like they really did. I think a lot of you guys were surprised this morning. I'm glad we got it done in a timely manner so now we can put it all behind us and focus on putting a bunch more trophies over in that room.
How much of a relief is it to get it out of the way and not have it hanging over your head?
BR: It's a big relief. All the questions that I have been getting for the past month will have finally come to an end. Coach Tomlin said we can put it behind us and focus just on football and getting some more rings, winning some more championships for this organization.
What will you be looking to do that you haven't done yet?
BR: I think the commitment that they've given to me, I'll be able to give back; being a better leader. That's kind of what this does, puts me up in more of a leadership role. It kind of comes with the territory of being the quarterback. Just being able to work that much harder to get that much better. Trying to become the best. That's always been my goal from Day 1, trying to be the best quarterback. I appreciate the commitment that the Steelers have given me, that I can be the best.
You could have written your own ticket anywhere. Is this about security for you?
BR: This is about being a Pittsburgh Steeler for as long as I can be. I don't want to go anywhere else. I love Pittsburgh. I love the fans. I love the organization and I don't want to go anywhere.
Are there any clauses in the contract regarding hazards, what you can and can't do?
BR: I don't know all the wording in the contract. I haven't gotten a chance to read the whole thing. That's something you'd have to talk to the organization about. I'm not sure.
Will there be something in the contract that says you can't ride a motorcycle?
BR: The contract is done, I don't know exactly what's in it, but we'll find out.
What did you drive here?
BR: A car; four wheels.
At the end of the season, you said you'd like to see Alan (Faneca) re-signed and that you'd like to get a big wide receiver in here as well. Any concerns about the immediate future?
BR: I believe that the guys we have on this team right now are exceptional players. I believe that we have the pieces of the puzzle that we can be a championship football team. I think we know with the history we have of drafting well, we'll be able to bring guys in to fit the puzzle even more. It's time to strap it on and get ready to play football. We have all the pieces that we need right here.
Would you possibly look at helping free up some cash somewhere down the line?
BR: That's down the line and I'm always willing to do what is needed to help the team. When it comes to that, we'll talk about it. Right now, it's about this year and the guys that we have right now.
BR: It's important to be able to keep the guys that we have. I think we've got a great group of guys. I'm excited about the guys that we have, the new guys that we'll have coming in, the free agents that we're gonna get. It's exciting to be a Pittsburgh Steeler this year and I'm sure the fans are as excited as we are.
Are you surprised that you've been able to achieve this, not just in terms of the money, but in terms of the security?
BR: It was a goal of mine. When I walked in this door, I said I wanted to be like Dan Marino, like John Elway and play with one team my entire career. That's been a goal and we've gotten one step closer to being able to do that. Hopefully I can pay it back with championships.
How does this affect you with pressure?
BR: There's always pressure in this town, especially at the quarterback position. There's always going to be pressure to play well. I'm sure this adds a little more and adds fuel to the fire to do a little better.
Will you buy yourself something for your birthday?
BR: No, that was yesterday. Maybe I'll get a cake.