Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Q: Terrell Suggs said Peyton Manning and Tom Brady get protected by the league and the rest of the QBs are fair game. Any response?
A: (Chuckles) Ah, Terrell Suggs is a great football player.
Q: Is he a great thinker, too?
A: He seems to know some things about the game of football.
Q: He also said James Harrison has been ‘red-flagged' by the league. Has this thing with the league gotten so big it's united the Steelers and Ravens here?
A: Well, I think it's two physical football teams that have a respect for each other when it comes to that style of play. Like I said, he's a football mind. He knows what he's talking about.
Q: Ben, did you feel personally roughed or fouled at any point?
A: Which game?
Q: Most of them, I guess.
A: (Chuckles) It is what it is. I just try to play the game the way I know how to play it.
Q: How about the sack before the long run in the Buffalo game?
A: Well it was hard because, being under there, I know I got hit and I was going down and I know I was laying on the ground trying to get my knee out because it was starting to hurt. I was wondering why the scuffle was going on. My linemen were jumping on guys. Then I watched the film and I realized two guys came and hit me. That's why they kind of scuffled. I don't know if they necessarily need to pile on when I'm down. Some of the officials call it the way they see it I guess.
Q: Did you hurt your knee a little bit on that play?
A: Hurt my knee on that play, yes.
Q: Will the boot come off before Sunday night?
A: It better. If not I'll put cleats on it.
Q: Did you see a similarity in that hit on you and what James was fined for in Tennessee?
A: I don't remember that play. In defense of my teammate, I saw the ref reach for the flag before the hit was even coming. It's unfortunate for him. We really feel bad for him.
Q: How are you feeling and what kind of progress have you made in the last couple of days?
A: I feel pretty good. I'm trying to make a little more progress every day.
Q: Do you have any doubt you'll play?
A: Not in my mind. I want to play all the time.
Q: Does the boot come off during practice?
A: John Norwig – the mastermind that we have at trainer – and I are in the middle of putting together a cleat that kind of has some stability in it to keep me from moving the foot. Hopefully we'll come up with something good that I can take the boot off and put the cleat on, but it'll have the same stability of the boot.
Q: How difficult is it to play with this kind of injury?
A: It hurts because it's my plant foot. It's my right foot. When I hit the ground I want to get the ball out and so it makes it tough. It's just playing through pain.
Q: How big has this rivalry become?
A: It's an AFC North game. Any time we play an AFC North team to me it's a huge rivalry. I think people make a really big deal about it because it's kind of a marquee NFL matchup. It's usually decided by a few points. It's usually hard-hitting. It's usually a prime-time game. I think that's why it's made such a big deal of.
Q: If you don't get any practice reps this week, how comfortable—
A: I'll get practice reps. No doubt.
Q: Playing through pain, would it be similar to what you did in the second half of the Buffalo game?
A: Yeah, I would assume so.
Q: You could do everything you needed to do?
A: I think so, yeah. I'll try. You know I'm going to give it my all. You know that. I will not be out there if I'm going to hurt this team. If I can help the team win, I'll be out there.
Q: Did you hurt your foot on the same play you hurt your knee?
A: No, it happened earlier. It happened in the first quarter.
Q: Your record is 7-2 against Baltimore. Does Baltimore bring out a little more from you?
A: I think it brings out a little bit from everybody on both sides of the ball, every position. I don't know what my record is against any team. I've heard that this week a couple times from the Baltimore media and other people. I guess I got lucky a couple times.
Q: Going back to 2006, when they beat you twice and sacked you I think 14 times, you haven't lost to them. What's changed since then?
A: A lot of things. It's been awhile now, a lot of personnel changes, trying to get comfortable in an offense. I think every year you play in the offense you get a little more comfortable with it so you can hopefully make the right adjustments and right calls to play your best.
Q: You and Ed Reed missed the last game. How much has changed for both sides?
A: To me, Ed Reed is one of the best that plays this game. He's a guy I – we all – have to know where he's at on every play. He takes a lot of focus because you need to know where he's at at all times.
Q: Is he one of the great baiters?
A: Yeah, he's one of the best players – physically, instinctually, everything – that I've ever played against.
Q: Does the injury put the onus on the offensive line to keep you healthy?
A: Well, I think they always want to try. Truthfully, I don't think they ever want me to get hurt. But it's on all of us. I have to get the ball out; they have to block; the running back has to run the ball; we have to catch. We have to do everything to stay on top of this game.
Q: Does the O-line get too much criticism?
A: Yeah, I think a lot of times they get criticized too much and don't get enough praise. I take a lot of credit for some of the sacks and some of the things that they get talked bad about. It's unfortunate, but I'll stand up for them when I'm on the podium holding the trophy like I did a couple years ago, or just talking to you guys.
Q: Did you hold onto the ball too long on any of the sacks last week?
A: I don't think so, but maybe.
Ben Roethlisberger agrees with Terrell Suggs, and also talks about his health prior to the Steelers' Sunday night game in Baltimore.