Favre has a big fan in Big Ben

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger says he idolized Brett Favre growing up and even wants his autograph. See what else Roethlisberger had to say about Favre's skills and his career.

The marquee for this week's game is obvious: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Brett Favre. This Sunday will be the first and possibly the last pairing between the legend and the Pittsburgh star, who emulated Favre when learning how to play the game.

Roethlisberger cannot remember when he first saw Favre play — he is 13 years younger — but he remembers what it did to him.

"I grew up watching Brett and idolizing him and molding a little bit of my game after him, so it'll be fun to play him for the first time," Roethlisberger said Thursday.

The Steelers faced Favre in Green Bay in 2005, but Roethlisberger did not make that trip after having an arthroscopic procedure for a torn meniscus. The Steelers won 20-10 with Charlie Batch at quarterback.

"He's a legend, and I'm just trying to get to his level," said Roethlisberger, who leads the NFL in passing yards and average gain. One of the attributes Roethlisberger said he has copied from watching Favre is "just the gun-slinger (mentality), doing the kind of unorthodox stuff ...

"You have to be smart with it sometimes. It's one of those things, if you watch Brett, sometimes he throws it up and you wonder what he was doing. Probably the same thing that coach says about me, you live by the sword and you die by it. He makes enough plays that you don't question him."

Roethlisberger said he's in awe of Favre's record streak of NFL starts.

"At this position? Unbelievable. You know what, a lot of it is toughness, but I'm sure he'll tell you a lot of it is luck. You have to get lucky, especially in this sport with guys rolling into you, hitting you, any little thing that can happen. He's gotten lucky, as well as he is incredibly tough."

Roethlisberger, who was sacked 139 times in his three previous seasons and 16 times after six games in this one, will start his 21st consecutive game and 61st of his past 63.


  • SS Troy Polamalu did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, although signs point to him starting his second straight game. He returned to play last week after missing four games with a sprained MCL.

  • RB Rashard Mendenhall returned to practice and went through the full workout Thursday. Coordinator Bruce Arians said he will start Sunday for the fourth straight game.

  • WR Hines Ward said he's running deeper routes than he has in a long time. The change was by design, which is why his average yards per catch has ballooned to 14.6, higher than ever as a starter.

  • DE Nick Eason will continue to spell both starters, Travis Kirschke on the left side and Brett Keisel on the right. Eason played 18 snaps in a similar rotation against Cleveland last Sunday.

  • RB Willie Parker will again wear the special shoes Nike created for him as a way of protecting his left big toe. Parker had turf toe and missed multiple games with the injury. The shoe provides more protection, but Parker wasn't entirely comfortable with the fit last Sunday.

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