On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers returned to practice after an unexpected bye week, having had their Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans postponed and then rescheduled for Week 7. Some of the team’s players were demonstrably upset about the change to the schedule, most notably tight end Eric Ebron.
Today, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked what he would do this week to make sure the unplanned break doesn’t “slow his roll,” as Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network put it.
“The league already tried to slow it down, so I guess I am going to just start over from scratch and hope this week I didn’t take too many steps backward,” said Roethlisberger, bluntly. “Just try and see how it goes this week, I guess.”
But he admitted it wasn’t ideal to start preparing for the Titans and then switch direction.
“That is tough, especially someone like myself who was just starting to get back in the flow of things,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s not easy, but you’ve got to adjust, you’ve got to adapt and do the best that you can.”
Ben Roethlisberger on the Threat of COVID-19
Later in his press conference on Wednesday, AP sports writer Will Graves asked Roethlisberger about cases of COVID-19 popping up around the league—and the prospect of potentially taking a bubble-type approach.
“We haven’t discussed it as a team. What we do say is we need to be cautious, be careful, protect each other,” said Roethlisberger. “New challenges arise this week with fans being allowed in the game now. Fans are allowed in the stadium which means we are allowed to have guests in town and things like that. In the Roethlisberger family we are not changing anything, no guests are coming in town. But there are new challenges that have been presented and hopefully guys can continue to be as cautious and as careful as we have been to this point.”
Finally, near the end of the press conference, Noah Strackbein of Sports Illustrated asked Roethlisberger whether he feels like the Steelers got “the short end of the stick” with the unplanned bye—this in light of talk that the Titans might conceivably be required to forfeit their game against the Bills. Strackbein also inquired whether Big Ben believes the Titans might be forced to forfeit to the Steelers.
“I don’t think they will consider forfeiting our game and of course we got the short end of the stick,” said Roethlisberger, with no elaboration whatsoever.
Ben Roethlisberger on Having Fans Back at Heinz Field
Big Ben did brighten a little when asked how he feels about having fans back at Heinz Field for Sunday’s game against the Eagles.
“It will be cool,” said Roethlisberger. “It will definitely be different because it’s such a small amount. Just to have some out there will be fun. And a lot of our families back in. My kids were so excited when I told them they could go to the game. To me that makes it worth it.”
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