Steelers pick up roles as Batman movie extras

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Batman, meet Big Ben.

The new labor agreement in the NFL banned teams from practicing twice a day but it says nothing about Ben Roethlisberger and his Steelers teammates practicing for good old "Gotham" on the set of the new Batman movie Saturday morning.

Roethlisberger and about a dozen of his veteran teammates will take part in the filming of Dark Knight Rises playing -- what else? -- football players at a familiar venue for them, Heinz Field. The production, which has been filming in Pittsburgh, moves Saturday morning to the Steelers home, where thousands of extras playing fans have been recruited. The Steelers will return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for a real football practice under the direction of coach Mike Tomlin Saturday afternoon.

The Steelers quarterback has become close with Thomas Tull, the film's executive producer who joined the Steelers ownership group two years ago. Tull helped influence the shooting of the movie in Pittsburgh and he's been trying to get the Steelers involved. Chrstopher Nolan is directing the third in his Batman trilogy. The movie stars Christian Bale as Batman and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.

"I'm kind of getting everybody together," Roethlisberger told the Post-Gazette today. "I heard it's going to be a neat thing at the stadium. I don't think it will be a big part, it's not like we're chasing Batman down or anyting. It's something neat that in 10 years or 20 years we can tell our kids we were in a movie. Thomas does movies big and I'm sure it will be a big-time movie and something fun to be part of."

Among teammates expected to join him are Hines Ward, Willie Colon, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, Aaron Smith, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, James Farrior and Casey Hampton.

There will be an early call for the football-playing actors -- they must be on the set, which is closed to the public, by 7 a.m. Saturday, and this after tonight's practice in Latrobe.

"From what I've heard, it's going to be like a pre-game, warming-up type thing,'' Roethlisberger said of the Steelers' roles. "I don't know the whole concept. There's a Gotham team, a football game. We'll be wearing uniforms. It will be fun."

Traffic restrictions around Heinz Field will be in place over the weekend. Art Rooney Avenue from W. General Robinson to Reedsdale Street will be closed Saturday and Sunday. The west side curb lane of Art Rooney Avenue from North Shore Drive to West General Robinson Street will be closed through Monday.


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