What can Ben do for an encore?

PITTSBURGH – He's won two Super Bowl rings before the age of 27, and his last play was one of the all-time greatest for any quarterback. So, what can Ben Roethlisberger do for an encore?

Mike Tomlin isn't sure.

"There are examples that you can point to – of drives, of plays – being a springboard to something," said the Steelers' coach. "But usually the roots of success happen before those signature plays. … People can point to those when you look back at somebody's career or development, but usually those are born when no one's looking – in the weight room, on the practice field, in a training facility."

They can at training facilities that aren't bowled over by spring storms. The Steelers were able to complete their mandatory minicamp early on Sunday. They never started the fifth scheduled workout; Tomlin just brought them up and sent them home.

The storylines at the previous four workouts included Larry Foote and Limas Sweed, but all eyes were always on Roethlisberger.

"I feel great," said the quarterback. "I took some time. I don't think anybody's worked out until now, so it's been good, relaxing. I haven't thrown. This is the only time when I throw, when I come here, because there's no reason to go above and beyond and stretch out the arm, because we know during the season there will be a lot of throwing, so I take it easy."

Roethlisberger says he's been busy since throwing that last pass – the game-winner to Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII – and that he hasn't watched the game.

"I know what happened," he said.

And he knows what happened the last time he was in this position as a just-crowned champion. The follow-up to Super Bowl XL was a dismal, injury-wracked, tragedy-oh-so-narrowly-averted, 8-8 season.

"I'm going to try to avoid offseason injuries," Roethlisberger said. "That's what it was for me. Offensively, we had a bullseye on our chest as a team. You always do as a Super Bowl team. We'll be all right. We'll come out and see how things go."

Roethlisberger said he's learned his lessons, but really won't do anything differently.

"You don't put pressure on yourself," he said. "You can't sit here and say ‘don't do this and don't do that,' you just come out and play football and do what we do."

Can he improve? After all, Roethlisberger's only 27. He's just moving into his physical prime.

"I believe that he can get better," Tomlin said. "I'm sure that he does. He's still a young guy. He's got a lot of hardware that some young guys don't have, but those are the standards that he sets for himself. Like everybody else, Ben is going to be here searching for the ceiling, in terms of what he's capable of, in terms of what we're capable of. He's trying to do it better and smarter and cleaner. That's what we're all trying to do."

NOTES – The only injury during minicamp occurred Saturday when RB Mewelde Moore had his foot stepped on and suffered a slight ankle sprain. … Tomlin said WR Martin Nance will undergo tests Monday to determine his injury. … As for ILB Larry Foote, Tomlin wouldn't divulge whether the team plans to release or trade him this week. Either way, the Steelers will shave $2.9 million from their payroll.

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