I'm currently doing a bit of carpentry, and so have the excuse to turn on sports radio. And amongst the talk of Olympic hockey, A.J. Burnett, and college basketball came an interview with Ben Roethlisberger. A lot of ground was covered in a short time, and here's a summary. The full interview will probably be posted at some point on the station website, but for the moment you'll have to trust my memory : )
The ostensible purpose of the call was to talk about Roethlisberger's foundation, which is in the news because the foundation is going to buy a new police dog for the Pittsburgh police to replace the dog who died in the line of duty a few weeks ago.
Roethlisberger explained that his foundation began when a dog was killed, also in the line of duty, in his hometown of Findley, Ohio. This gave him the idea for the foundation, and since the time it was formed in 2006 it has distributed around $850,000 to police and fire departments around the country.
And Roethlisberger emphasized that the current donation will not "replace" Rocco, the dog who was killed. He then explained that he is a dog person. He has always owned and loved dogs. And here's the dismaying news—he's not a cat person. This makes me sad, but I'm willing to accept this flaw in his nature : )
After they finished talking about the foundation gift, co-host Chris Mueller threw out the first football question—"You knew there would be some football questions, right?" And it was, not too surprisingly, about Michael Sam, and whether Roethlisberger thought he would be accepted in the Steelers locker room if he were drafted. Ben made it clear that the only consideration of his teammates would be whether he could help them win football games.
When asked if he thought he had perhaps had gay teammates before, Roethlisberger said he's read the articles which indicate statistically he probably has, but if so was unaware of it. He reiterated his assertion—the only thing which really matters is how his teammates perform on the field.
What this doesn't address, of course, is the locker room culture and the importance of getting along with teammates. They say winning cures everything, but if you aren't winning you need a strong locker room. And if you are winning, a strong locker room makes things better. But from everything I've seen, I would think the Steelers would be the sort of place Sam would hope to end up.
Next question up was Ryan Clark's statement. Other than asserting that he had never used marijuana, he didn't have too much to say on the subject. Probably wise. And laugh if you like, but I'm prepared to believe him.
Of course, the 93.7 guys wanted to know how Roethlisberger felt about having Joey Porter as a coach. He quickly pointed out that Porter wouldn't actually be his coach, but admitted it would seem slightly odd. He seemed quite pleased about the hire, though, and noted that while it might feel odd to call him "coach" he would undoubtedly come up with a name for him in the not-too-distant future. I for one would love to know what the name is, but it may never be public knowledge : )
And finally, they asked about Jerricho Cotchery, and whether Roethlisberger would like to have him back with the Steelers next year. Ben said "absolutely!" He hoped J-Co wouldn't be a free agent for long. He said he realized it was a business, and you can't keep everyone, he would like to have Manny (Emmanuel Sanders) back as well. But I think the handwriting is on the wall as far as Ben is concerned, and most of his reply was spent in talking about what a security blanket Cotchery was for him, how productive he was last year, how important his leadership is, and so on. So I'm getting ahead of myself, in that I haven't addressed the wide receivers in my free agency series yet, but I feel pretty comfortable saying Cotchery will be back and Sanders won't.
That's all I can remember at the moment. I'll update this once the interview is posted if I got the wrong end of the stick on anything or forgot anything.