Locker room: 50-50 split if Roethlisberger should play
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BALTIMORE -- Hines Ward claims the Steelers locker room was split "50-50" over whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should have played tonight against the Baltimore Ravens.
"This game is almost like a playoff game," Ward told NBC-TV's Bob Costas in an interview that was taped on Saturday at the team hotel here and shown before tonight's game.
"It's almost a must-win," Ward said. "I could see some players or teammates questioning, like, 'It's just a concussion. I've played with a concussion before.'
"It's almost like a 50-50 toss-up in the locker room. Should he play? Shouldn't he play? It's really hard to say," Ward said.
"I've been out there dinged up. The following week, got right back out there. Ben practiced all week. He split time with Dennis Dixon. And then to find out that he's still having some headaches and not playing and it came down to the doctors didn't feel that they were going to clear him or not.
"It's hard to say," Ward added. "Unless you're the person itself. I've lied to a couple of doctors saying I'm straight, I feel good when I know that I'm not really straight. I don't think guys really worry about the future while they're playing currently in the NFL...
"Trust me, the players want to go out there because these games you don't get back. You're never going to get this Baltimore-Pittsburgh game back. This is a big game. Unfortunately, Ben can't play, so the 53 other guys have to rally the team and see if we can win one down here," Ward said.
Roethlisberger, however, was dressed as the No. 3 quarterback. He warmed up throwing the ball before the game wearing the normal flak jacket he would wear for any other game.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who played and coached with the Steelers, questioned why they would make Roethlisberger the No. 3 quarterback if he were judged not healthy enough to play.
"The thing I don't understand is why he's the third quarterback tonight," Dungy said on the NBC's "Football Night in America." "The third quarterback would have played last week [for the Steelers in Kansas City] because they had two quarterbacks get hurt. I think if he's out, he should be out."
First Published November 29, 2009 9:19 pm