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Swirling Roethlisberger rumors not distracting Steelers

Conversation this week was centered almost entirely around a report that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will request a trade this offseason. Those conversations are not affecting the Steelers locker room, according to multiple veterans.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Easily the biggest talker this week has been allegations that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will request the Steelers seek options in a trade for his services this offseason.

It's been shot down by Roethlisberger, his agent, the team, millions of fans on Twitter and nearly every local reporter.

Whether it's true or not is one issue; how the rest of the team is reacting to it is another.

By and large, it doesn't appear the locker room is letting it affect them - at least no more than they're letting on.

Ralph N. Paulk quoted cornerback Ike Taylor disregarding the rumor.

"I think people outside this locker room will cause a distraction regardless of our record. We're not going to let this carry on to the field. We've got a good group of veterans who know how to handle this situation."

Ditto for tight end Heath Miller.

"When you're not playing as well, this stuff tends to come up out of nowhere. It's not an issue for us in the locker room."

ESPN's Scott Brown got Ryan Clark dismissing the information as unimportant.

"Right now it’s just rumors. As long as [Roethlisberger] is playing hard for us on Sunday, as long as he’s doing what it takes for us to go out here and win games, nobody cares."

Those are three long-tenured Steelers players, and if they speak for the majority in the locker room, it doesn't seem like anything that's being said is affecting their ability to prepare for Detroit Sunday. That's a good thing, considering the 6-3 Lions are a balanced, explosive and fully-loaded team from a talent perspective.

The back-and-forth should run out of gas soon enough. It's an issue likely to dominate headlines once again in the offseason, but with the Steelers clinging to postseason hopes by the thinnest of margins, it's not quite time to kick over those rocks.

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