PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger never mentioned Todd Haley by name while criticizing the Steelers’ playcalling after the loss in Dallas, but on Wednesday Roethlisberger mentioned his offensive coordinator first.
“I came in and I apologized to Todd,” Roethlisberger said yesterday. “I apologized to Mike [Tomlin] and I apologized to Mr. Rooney, because I let my frustrations jump out after a game. I don’t usually do that. Usually I keep it under control. I was just frustrated with myself and I’ll be better at that.”
Roethlisberger’s frustration was understandable after his interception in overtime was returned by Brandon Carr to the 1-yard line to set up the game-winning field goal for the Cowboys.
Roethlisberger was asked after the game about throwing to tight end Heath Miller and said, “I just don’t think we called the right plays to get him the ball.”
Roethlisberger criticized other playcalls and the infrequent usage of the no-huddle offense, which the Steelers were using during their two offensive plays in overtime.
“It comes from just wanting to do anything to win football games,” Roethlisberger said. “It was just a lot of frustration and I shouldn’t have. That’s my fault.”
Roethlisberger was asked if he and Haley are “seeing eye-to-eye.”
Rashard Mendenhall isn’t a starter – at least not yet – but he was back on the practice field Wednesday following his one-game suspension. After practice he denied that the injury-plagued, fumble-filled, suspension-stained season has been “a nightmare season.”
“No, not at all,” Mendenhall said. “I can see why it appears to be that on the outside, but, no, not at all. Nothing’s changed this year for me, the way that I worked, the way that I prepare, the way that I grow, and that’s been that same thing. Outside circumstances have been different, but for me it hasn’t been that at all.”
Mendenhall didn’t want to talk about why he skipped the San Diego game after being ruled inactive by Tomlin, but he did say he’s ready to play, that he’s taking his status with the team day-by-day, and that his teammates are still his friends.
Roethlisberger, for one, threw his support behind the former starting running back.
“He’s a pretty darn good football player,” Roethlisberger said. “If he can help this team win football games, we’ll take it.”
GOOD TO BE HOME
Newly signed cornerback Justin King said “it’s great to be home” in Pittsburgh, his hometown, but he never expected to locker next to one of his former high school rivals.
The former Gateway High and Penn State player was assigned the locker next to former Franklin Regional High and Pitt player John Malecki. The two neighboring schools played against each other in high school in 2003 with King’s Gateway team hammering Malecki’s Franklin squad, 49-13.
King was asked if he could handle lockering next to a Pitt man. “Of course,” he said.
But Malecki said, “I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”
After leaving Penn State, King made 19 starts for the St. Louis Rams and spent the first five weeks of this season with the Indianapolis Colts. He was released because of a groin injury that he said has since healed.
“I get to see my family,” King said of coming back to Monroeville after living in Dallas. “Everybody’s excited and happy. I’ll contribute where I can.”