Big Ben to donate to police K-9 units

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It sounds as if it might have come from a routine by Cleveland comic Drew Carey. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger donating money to Cleveland's "dog pound"?

Almost.

Virtually on the eve of the season opener in Cleveland between longtime rivals the Steelers and Browns, a news release yesterday announced that Roethlisberger is giving a grant to the Cleveland Police's K-9 Unit.

"The grant will be distributed to the Cleveland Division of Police's Canine Unit to purchase an explosive detection canine, dog training and a canine protective vest," the news release from Roethlisberger's agent, Ryan Tollner, read.

"It's something we decided to do, my foundation is doing, after the police dog in my hometown got shot and killed. We decided to do it for every away city I play in and every time we play at home -- pick a department here in Pittsburgh to donate to," Roethlisberger said yesterday.

"It won't always be a dog; it might be jackets if they already have dogs. Whatever the police department needs, we've kind of left it up to their discretion."

Roethlisberger acknowledged that people might be surprised that he is helping Cleveland. "I'm sure there will be some fans who will say, 'I can't believe you're doing that', but all in all it has nothing to do with football. It has to do with police departments who do so much to protect us. The Cleveland police department, I'm sure, is doing a great job of protecting Cleveland.

"That's what it's all about, the people who go out every day and put their lives on the line."

Roethlisberger noted that he was born and raised in Ohio, and his first grant went to his hometown of Findlay, Ohio, to replace that police department's dog after it was shot and killed when it wandered into a neighbor's yard from his handler's house.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers open the season at 1 p.m. Sunday at Cleveland Stadium. The series that began in 1950 is tied at 55-55



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