Q&A: Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger says he's ready to go, but admitted that the blow to his head last game "was scary."

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: How do you feel, Ben?

A: Good. How do you feel?

Q: I feel pretty good. Are you 100 percent?

A: Close. Close.

Q: Could you talk about the Chargers?

A: Well, they're a good football team playing great football right now. They're bringing it. They've been playing, for the last month or two, playoff-caliber football. It's going to take our best shot. Last time we played them we squeezed out a baseball-score victory. It's going to take our best.

Q: How many tests have you gone through in the last week? And do you have to do anymore?

A: Like three or four last week and one this morning.

Q: Is that it?

A: Yeah, I passed this morning (laughs). I'm good.

Q: What do you have to do in these tests?

A: I took a lot of tests with the doctor, but you just get on the computer for the concussion test.

Q: You said you passed the one this morning. Had you not passed the prior tests?

A: I don't know. I forget.

Q: What do you do on a computer concussion test?

A: It's just like a word memory (test). They show you a bunch of words and you have to remember what they were, and you have to remember shapes and colors, different stuff like that.

Q: Naturally a lot of people brought up your last concussion and then went to your next game to see what you did. Why would this game be different?

A: Well, it's nice that we had the week off. That's a big help. And last time we got cleared. We're taking every precaution necessary with doctors and everybody. It's going well and today we'll go out there and see how it is, the extra day today, and see how I feel and go from there.

Q: Looking back on that day, were you clear-headed in Oakland?

A: Uh, geez, that's so long ago I don't even remember.

Q: What concerns do you have going forward after that game?

A: None. You can't afford to. It's just like when a player comes off knee surgery, or some kind of injury, you can't go out there and play afraid, play scared to be hurt, because that's when you get hurt. So I'm going to go out there and play normal football. If I get hit, I get hit.

Q: What might you see from their defense that you maybe didn't see the last time?

A: The last time we played them I believe it was their defensive coordinator's first or second game. It was early, but I think they got more comfortable. Yesterday they showed a lot of different looks, a lot of different packages, so we're going to have to be prepared, really be on our Ps and Qs, and watch a lot of film.

Q: The last game when you got hit, was it scary? Or did you know you were going to be OK?

A: Oh, no, it was scary. I mean, when you can't feel your arms you get kind of scared.

Q: You couldn't feel either arm?

A: Yeah, I couldn't feel them. They pricked me with a pin and I couldn't feel it. When you see the doctor look at the trainer with that look, it kind of scares you a little bit.

Q: Do you have any doubt you'll play Sunday?

A: No, not unless coach doesn't let me. I plan on being out there 100 percent ready to go.

Q: How long did you have a headache after that hit?

A: Um, just got rid of it a couple days ago. It's steadily gone down.

Q: Will you wear any type of protective helmet?

A: No, we'll proceed like it's a normal game. We'll put all that in the past. We're moving on.

Q: Was the helmet-to-helmet hit worse than the hit off the ground?

A: I just got done talking to Gie (Garrett Giemont) our (conditioning coordinator) and I said I'm glad we weren't on Field Turf. That grass – you know, the soft Heinz Field – might've helped a little bit. That whiplash is always a pain. If you ask any position player, when they hit that ground with the whiplash, it's going to hurt like crazy.

Q: The TV station showed an earlier play, saying that may have been the source. Did you feel that hit?

A: Oh, yeah. That was like the left jab before the uppercut in a boxing match. It didn't feel good then, either.

Q: Will you get more tests? Or are you done after you passed one?

A: No, the next test I'm going to face is Sunday against the Chargers.

Q: How will you score touchdowns this time against the Chargers?

A: We did well offensively, efficiency-wise. We moved the ball, but we sputtered in the red zone. We can't afford to do that. We can't turn the ball over. The big thing is we can drive up and down the field, but we have to be able to put the ball in when we get down there. Three points is great but we'd rather have seven.

Q: Were they in some type of umbrella cover-2 that day?

A: Sometimes they would drop. They did a lot of different things. They're a great defense and throw a lot of things at you, blitzes. Their personnel is unbelievable. We're going to have to match the intensity and the fire they're going to bring.

Q: Their punter was ridiculous the other day. Will field position be a concern?

A: Yeah field position's going to be big for us. Any time we get the ball we want our defense to rest; hold the ball and possess it so when our defense gets back out there they can play with the fire and intensity that they do.

Q: You ran the ball well against San Diego the last time, and you ran it well in your last game. Is the running game satisfactory for the playoffs?

A: I think so. I think offensively we're starting to click on all cylinders, and we have to. It's that time of year where you can't afford to make mistakes. You can't turn the ball over. You have to move the ball, run and pass, doing it all. Now's the time to see if we are on all cylinders.


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