Big Ben 'hurt' by Ward's words

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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was shocked he was unable to play last Sunday in Baltimore and hurt when he heard what teammate Hines Ward had to say about it.

"He reached out to me and I told him I was just more hurt than anything," Roethlisberger said this afternoon. "You know, we got over it, moved past it and now we're preparing."

Roethlisberger was held out of Sunday's loss in Baltimore by coach Mike Tomlin after the quarterback complained about headaches after practice last week. He was judged to have had a concussion during over time of the Steelers loss in Kansas City Nov. 22.

"I feel great," Roethlisberger said today. "I'm ready to go, practiced yesterday, felt good, no headaches and ready to rock and roll."

Roethlisberger said he pleaded with Tomlin to allow him to play, even asked one final time along the sideline after the National Anthem was played in Baltimore. He did dress for the game and was listed as the No. 3 quarterback.

However, he acknowledged that his doctors, headed by UPMC neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon, did the right thing by suggesting to Tomlin he not play. He even mentioned the many facial injuries he received from his motorcycle accident in June 2006.

"They took what was my best interests in mind,'' Roethlisberger said. "A lot of people forget the accident that I had. [The doctors] remembered that. It was life threatening, I almost lost my life for an accident to my head and face and the five plates I have in my face right now.

"They knew what was in my best interests and when you have symptoms like that they felt it was best to not go and that was their decision, not mine. I wanted to play but on Saturday morning they made that decision."

Roethlisberger said Tomlin told him to report early last Saturday morning to their facility on the South Side and the coach then called him into his office.

"He basically pulled me in his office and told me. I was kind of in shock, upset, shock but respected what they said . . . You do have to think about your future and your family. It's not fun but you can get knee replacement surgery, you can have rotator cuff surgeries, but you can't get a new brain."

Roethlisberger said he will be given no more tests, that he continued to pass them all and the only problem came with the headaches. He has not had a headache since last week, he said.



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