Todd Haley called Ben Roethlisberger a few weeks ago and the quarterback ignored it.
"I didn't recognize the number," Roethlisberger said.
It could have been an ignominious start to the long-anticipated first meeting between the Steelers quarterback and the new boss of the offense. However, when Roethlisberger listened to the message, he quickly returned the phone call and the coach and the quarterback had their chat.
The only thing is, by NFL rules, they are not permitted to talk real football stuff until April 16.
"It was a really good talk," Roethlisberger said of the 10- to 15-minute phone conversation he had with Haley in his first comments since their first meeting. "Unfortunately, we can't talk football right now and that's one of the big things I wanted to talk about.
"So it was just me talking to him, about golf, his family, my family, him having been a ballboy here, just things like that. It was a good start and I felt it was a good step in the right direction."
The Steelers hired Haley as their offensive coordinator Feb. 6, but it took a few weeks before the new coach and his quarterback talked. Speculation about why they hadn't talked built during that time. It perhaps became a bigger issue because of Roethlisberger's close relationship to Bruce Arians, whom the Steelers fired as coordinator.
"I didn't know what the rules were," Roethlisberger said. "Could I call him? Could he call me? I don't know what you're allowed to do or not allowed to do."
First impressions of his new coach?
"I think it will be a good working relationship -- and good friendship, who knows," Roethlisberger said.
First Published March 2, 2012 5:00 AM