Emotional game led to Roethlisberger's comments, Steelers' Haley says

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Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said after practice today that he quickly dismissed what Ben Roethlisberger said after the Dallas game because of his quarterback's emotional state.

"That was an emotional game," Haley said. "Whatever was said can't be taken too much to the heart because that's the way this game is. Guys will get into it in locker rooms, in the building, on the practice field. It's the mindset you get into when you're getting ready to compete and coach a big game. There's emotion involved. I wouldn't really pay much attention to anything that's said in an emotional state of mind."

Roethlisberger apologized to Haley and head coach Mike Tomlin for some of his comments in the aftermath of the 27-24 overtime loss to the Cowboys. Roethlisberger questioned the use of tight end Heath Miller in the second half and some of the play-calling.

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Haley, who had his share of run-ins with star players as offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, said sometimes confrontation between players and coaches can be a good thing.

"I think healthy conflict, discussion, banter is good because it gets you to the right place and gets everyone on the same page and where you need to be," Haley said. "Like I've said a number of times when I make a call into Ben's ear in the game I'm putting complete faith in him to make it the best call it can be. The same goes for him. When he hears my voice he has to trust and believe that the play coming is giving us the best chance to succeed. You develop that in these Sunday battles against other teams. That's where it develops with the trust and camaraderie. That's what's occurred. There will be ups and downs because there's emotion and a lot at stake every week. We put a lot of time, effort and sacrifice into this. I think a little bit of healthy conflict is a good thing."

Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.

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First Published December 20, 2012 9:30 PM


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