By Mike Bires
Ben Roethlisberger’s health is always a big issue, even when he tweaks his knee at a voluntary off-season practice.
Such was the case Wednesday when the star quarterback limped off the field at the Steelers’ indoor practice facility.
After he was examined by a trainer, Roethlisberger watched the rest of practice. The injury wasn’t serious enough for trainers to wrap his knee. But “Big Ben” was limping as he left the field and headed into the locker room.
Roethlisberger refused to speak to the media after practice. Likewise for coach Mike Tomlin, who has yet to meet with reporters after any of the organized team activities held so far.
Although this injury isn’t believed to be serious, Roethlisberger will likely miss Thursday’s OTA.
Speaking of Roethlisberger, he is scheduled to play June 12 in the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y. That’s the site of this year’s U.S. Open.
Roethlisberger will play in a foursome that includes former NBA superstar Michael Jordan; Matt Lauer, the co-host of NBC-TV’s “Today” show; and a policeman from Arizona.
Highlights of their round will be shown on June 21 before the fourth and final round of the U.S. Open.
Very often during OTAs, rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace and rookie cornerback Keenan Lewis are matched up against each other, man-to-man. Such was the case for a few plays Wednesday during team drills.
It’s two old friends from New Orleans working hard as they try to impress the Steeler coaches.
“He’s my roommate right now, but I’m moving him out. I don’t like him,” Wallace said jokingly. ”Really we’re great friends. And it’s good to have him here.
“We talk before every practice and every night at our apartment. He tells me if he sees something I didn’t do right. I tell him if I see something he didn’t do right. It helps to have one of my best friends here.”
Wallace and Lewis were teammates at O. Perry Walker High School in the West Bank section of New Orleans. They were both supposed to play college football at Oregon State, but Wallace changed his mind and attended Ole Miss.
“It has always been my dream to play in the NFL. It’s also a dream to play with one of my best friends,” Lewis said. “Since the age of 6 when we played Pop Warner together, we have played together ever since.”
The Steelers will receive their Super Bowl rings at a special get-together Tuesday at Heinz Field. When they do, they’ll own a precious piece of jewelry that’s “full of ice.”
That’s “ice” as in diamonds.
“They’re going to be awesome … full of ice,” linebacker James Farrior said.
Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and team president Art Rooney II sought out opinions from four players when designing the Super Bowl XLIII rings: Roethlisberger, Farrior, wide receiver Hines Ward and linebacker James Harrison.
“It’s going to be something to remember,” Ward said. “It’s big … it’s big … two times the size of the last one. Being we’re the first team in the NFL to win six Super Bowls, the ring is going to stand out.”
The “last one” Ward referred to was the ring the Steelers received after winning SB XL.
Among the Steelers who attended Tuesday night’s Pittsburgh Penguins win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals were Roethlisberger, Farrior, Ward, defensive end Brett Keisel and nose tackle Chris Hoke.
Tomlin, his wife and their two children were also in attendance at Mellon Arena.
So was Steelers’ personnel director Kevin Colbert, an avid hockey fan who has season tickets to Pens’ games.
Including today, the Steelers have four more OTA workouts. The last of their allotted 14 OTAS will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week.
Photo courtesy of Steel City Hobbies