Ben Roethlisberger granted separate interviews this week to television stations KDKA and WTAE for his first detailed public comments since allegations of sexual assault erupted in Milledgeville, Ga. The local stations aired the interviews yesterday, although without any discussion of his conduct with young women in Milledgeville or Lake Tahoe, Nev., where a hotel employee has filed a civil suit against him. Steelers representatives told the TV stations Roethlisberger would be unable to discuss the incidents because of legal concerns.
In the interviews, Roethlisberger repeatedly faults himself for mistakes, blaming it in part on his immaturity while transitioning from his small-town Findlay, Ohio, background to "big city" Pittsburgh.
"Big Ben just kept building up, and I think it ended up coming off the field, and as the years kept going it just kept taking over Ben Roethlisberger," he told KDKA's Bob Pompeani.
Roethlisberger appeared relaxed and contrite throughout the interviews, with his most emotional moment coming in description of recent talks with his father, who now has a Western Pennsylvania farm Roethlisberger has visited frequently.
"We were talking about everything and how I got kind of lost, and he looked at me and we both kind of broke down, and he said, 'It's good to have my son back.' And that just killed me," Roethlisberger said.
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org .