Always a date to be circled on the calendar prior to April's draft, the Miami Hurricane pro…
Roman Oben Meets The Steelers Press
Media: How's the visit going?
RO: It's going good. It's definitely a good team, a team that's on the verge of being a Super Bowl contender this year and the year after that so it's definitely a lure to come here.
M: What's going on with Tampa Bay?
RO: They have to get under the cap. They still want me back there but as a free agent you have to exercise your right to visit other teams.
M: What are you looking for out of a team?
RO: Obviously I want a team that can win a Super Bowl. Coming from Cleveland and coming from the Giants, as an older veteran you want to be on a team that's going to be a contender and this is definitely one of those teams.
M: Would you prefer to stay in Tampa?
RO: My first initial feeling is to stay but as a professional you have to see what your options are. The most important thing for me is to get better as a football player and have some continuity. I mean I haven't been with one team with the same offense two years in a row. Playing with [Chris] Palmer, he got fired. Butch Davis came in and I left, went to Tampa. It would be easier to stay in Tampa because I know the offense, know the system. My family and house are down there. But this business is what it is. Sometimes you have to move on to find that place.
M: Since you are coming off a championship, is it easier to go where there's more money?
RO: I'm not 26 but I'm not 35 [will be 31 on Oct. 9]. I know [Luke] Petitgout and Flozell Adams, even Wayne Gandy, got big money from these other teams, but maybe for some reason the case is a little different for me. It is about the money and getting something that is comfortable but the bottom line is being happy where you are.
M: Was this just a meet and greet?
RO: Well this is my first visit this year. I've had a pretty warm reception. Obviously you guys beat us 17 to zip [17-7] on Monday night. And then playing Pittsburgh twice a year when I was in Cleveland, I mean I'm very familiar with this team and I know a couple guys on the team already, so it's been a pretty warm reception. It's just a matter of where they think I stand in the process. It's really up to the Steelers, whether it's been a meet-and-greet or they really want to offer me a contract.
M: You've been a free agent before. Do you like the experience?
RO: I think it's a little better when you come off a Super Bowl victory than it is when you're cut from a team and have to re-establish your reputation in the league. And then when you're a young guy after your fourth year like Dexter Jackson. He's 26 years old and he wants the best opportunity possible. It's three different circumstances. This year you do have a little more confidence going into free agency and teams know who you are and you don't have to convince someone you're a good player who just needs an opportunity to succeed, which was the case this time last year. My approach has stayed the same. I want to get better; I want to be with a team that respects my abilities and respects what I can contribute. That's why I'm here.
M: Cleveland cut you?
RO: Yeah, February 26 of 2002, the week after the expansion draft.
M: Do you have any other business scheduled?
M: Have any other teams shown an interest?
RO: No, like I said, even though we won a Super Bowl teams haven't been beating my door down. There are a few teams that need tackles. We'll see what the possibilities are. I know Dexter Jackson was here, so this team's going to have to decide what's more important: getting that free safety or getting that left tackle to protect Tommy [Maddox].
M: Did the Browns put you on the expansion list?
RO: Yeah, I was on the expansion list and I was cut a week after, and that was about six weeks after I had a major knee surgery.
M: When did you hurt your knee?
RO: The game after 9-11 and I played the rest of the year, and then they wanted to re-shuffle the line about Week 14 and I missed a few games. Then I left the team and I was on the street for like three months, visited about four teams and ended up signing with Tampa because it was the best opportunity. I cracked the starting lineup and kind of re-established myself in this league. Besides being with the Giants for four years, two years in Cleveland, one in Tampa, o-linemen usually don't bounce around so much. You want to be in a place four or five years.
M: Would you like to play against Cleveland twice a year?
RO: That would be the fun part. I wouldn't mind beating them twice a year.
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