The Steelers had little reaction yesterday to Ben Roethlisberger's comments that he played Super Bowl XLIII with two broken ribs.
"To our knowledge, he was ready, willing and able to go and obviously he performed admirably," said Kevin Colbert, the Steelers' director of football operations.
The breaks did not show on an X-ray taken before the Super Bowl but did turn up on an MRI he had in Pittsburgh last week, Roethlisberger told Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
"Fractured ribs," Roethlisberger said. "Luckily, in the game, I didn't take any big hits to make 'em hurt. But I knew all along there was something wrong. There wouldn't have been anything they could have done about fractured ribs anyway. It was just suck it up and play."
Roethlisberger was not listed on the Steelers' injury report at all before the Super Bowl and did not miss a practice.
Coach Mike Tomlin denied a report in the days leading to the Super Bowl that Roethlisberger had X-rays taken on his back/ribs.
"Not that I heard," Tomlin said. "Ben's health is often the subject of inaccurate reports. He's fine."
Roethlisberger did miss the Wednesday practice in Pittsburgh after the AFC championship game and was listed on the Steelers' injury report that week with an unspecified back injury.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, in response to a query about Roethlisberger's statement about his ribs and whether he should have been listed on the injury report the week of the Super Bowl, answered in an e-mail:
"Ben's injury was disclosed in the required injury report the week prior to the team going to Tampa for the Super Bowl.
He was listed throughout that week with a back injury. The reports that week said he did not practice on Wednesday and fully practiced on Thursday and Friday.
He was then listed on Friday as probable for the Super Bowl with a back injury.
The Steelers then fully cleared him to practice and play and he was not listed on the SB week injury report.
We also have a pool reporter procedure for Super Bowl week.
A [Pro Football Writers Association] appointed reporter attends every practice session of each team to report on the physical condition of the players.
AFC pool reporter Peter King reported throughout the week that Ben fully practiced and 'looked sharp.'
There was no doubt as to Ben's availability. Then, of course, he played the entire game."
NOTE -- The Steelers released defensive tackle Kyle Clement from injured reserve.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . First Published February 10, 2009 5:00 AM