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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shares a laugh with teammate Hines Ward during workouts at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.
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Listen to a longer version of Patricia Sheridan's interview with Ben Roethlisberger
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Super Bowl superhero Ben Roethlisberger is the youngest quarterback to ever lead a team to the NFL championship. The Steelers' Big Ben talks about what it's like to be a superstar at 24 years old and how he handles the attention. He did not want to talk about his much publicized motorcycle accident, which required surgery earlier this summer but did not keep him from arriving on time to training camp. However, he did explain how it may have changed him. In an ESPN interview, the quarterback has said he would wear a helmet if he ever rode again but wouldn't say if or when that would be.
Q: Were you surprised by the worldwide coverage your motorcycle accident received?
A: Well, yes and no. Being a sports figure, and you know with so many fans all over the country, there was a lot of, you know, concern out there. A lot of people wanted to cover the story, especially after winning the Super Bowl.
Q: You've said you have a strong faith. Do you believe things happen for a reason?
Q: Do you find you look at things differently since your brush with death?
A: I think I just appreciate life. I appreciate being here and waking up every day and just -- I'm probably smiling a little bit more.
Q: How did your childhood contribute to your success and sense of commitment?
A: I think I get a lot of that from my father. That's the way I've always been. I always put my mind to something, and it drives me to be the best, you know? I want to be the best at whatever I do. All the values I have, he instilled in me. Being a strong character, a man of faith, just all the things that he is, I try and be.
Q: Would you be described as a laid-back or a high-strung kind of guy?
A: I'm definitely very laid-back.
Q: When you do get stressed, how do you deal with it?
A: It just depends. It depends on where I'm at, what I'm doing. I love to golf. I have two dogs that help with that. I watch movies. You know, I just find ways.
Q: Has your status as a superstar affected you?
A: I don't think so. I think I've taken everything in stride. Learned from everything that I've done. I think I've done a decent job of it.
Q: You are very mature for your years in that you handle the press well. You handle the fans well.
A: I think that's part of what I do being a quarterback of an NFL team. It doesn't matter how young you are; I feel I have to be mature beyond my years, so that's why I try and do that. I don't think I'm putting on a show. Don't get me wrong, I like to -- I think everyone does, every once in a while -- act like a kid.
Q: Do you find you are more guarded?
A: Maybe a little bit. I think just sometimes you like to have your privacy. You don't want people knowing every little thing about you.
Q: Do you like the fame? What are the upsides?
A: I know it's part of the territory being a quarterback. I know that it's something I have to deal with. I don't necessarily have to be in the spotlight. I don't like it all the time because that's not who I am. I would rather my teammates be in the spotlight than me. The upsides are that you have a lot of opportunity. I've gotten opportunity to do different things, like [go to] the Grammys, like play golf and meet people. All kinds of things like that are awesome.
Q: How do you get past the suspicion that someone likes you for your celebrity rather than who you really are?
A: Well, that's just something, you know, you have to judge people by what kind of character they have. Sometimes it's tough to read people, but I think I'm a pretty good judge of that.
Q: I would imagine it would be one of the harder things to do.
A: Yeah, it is, but you have to be smart and take your time and be patient with them.
Q: Are you in a relationship now?
A: I'm not going to speak on that.
Q: I'm guessing you get a lot of marriage proposals?
A: [Laughs.] Yeah, you know, you see a lot of stuff. Especially here at camp you see a lot of "Ben," you know, "will you marry me?" [signs]. A lot of people everywhere you go want to give you a hug or give you a kiss. Stuff like that.
Q: What's the pressure like to get back to the Super Bowl?
A: Well, I always put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best, and I don't know if I'm necessarily putting pressure on myself to get back to the Super Bowl as I am to just try and play well.
Q: Do any of the defenses out there scare you more than, say, the Patriots?
A: Well, there are a lot of defenses out there that I think are incredibly good. The Patriots have a very good defense; Cincinnati has a very good defense. A lot of them [do], but I think the best defense I've faced is the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
First Published August 14, 2006 12:00 am