Starks says WWE spot no distraction
Some may look at Ben Roethlisberger and his offensive line taking part in WWE's "Monday Night Raw" next week in Wilkes-Barre just hours after playing San Diego as a possible distraction.
Left tackle Max Starks isn't one of them.
"It is just like saying that television is a distraction," Starks said. "It is on a Monday evening, six days away from a game. We have an off day the next day. I don't see how that is considered a distraction."
Starks will join Roethlisberger, Trai Essex, Justin Hartwig, Chris Kemoeatu and Willie Colon on the two-hour show in which Roethlisberger will be a guest host.
"For us, we are regular guys just like everybody else," Starks said. "If people go out on the weekends, is that a distraction from your work Monday through Friday• I don't think so."
Some of the same players taking part in the show Monday attend wrestling events regularly at Mellon Arena.
Starks said if it didn't involve the Super Bowl champs that there would be no talk about a distraction whatsoever.
"Nobody would really care if it was, say a team across the borders of the state," Starks said. "Nobody would care as much, and it wouldn't be as much as a situation."
Starks said it would be a different reaction if the event was across town, too, rather than across state.
"We would actually be regaled," Starks said.
Coach Mike Tomlin wasn't one of them.
Tomlin said Tuesday that he was aware of some of his player's plans and didn't want to comment on it.
So did Roethlisberger clear it with his coach?
"It is our day off ... so, I don't know, did we have to clear it with Coach?" Kemoeatu said. "I guess if he tells us otherwise. On your day off, you want to get your mind off football and there is stuff like this we can do."
• Roethlisberger will be doing a lot of talking come Monday night when he will guest host "Raw." But for Wednesday, the quarterback wasn't much in the mood for talking. Roethlisberger normally talks to the media Wednesday afternoons but postponed it until after practice. Then, as a throng of media members waited by his locker following practice, Roethlisberger showered, raced back to his locker to pick up his hat, and jogged toward the exit on his way to a meeting while saying "I ain't going to win no Rooney Award" to teammate Hines Ward. "The Chief Award," which it is properly called, is given to a player who is most helpful to the media. WR Limas Sweed also refused to talk to the media.
• LaDainian Tomlinson was back at practice yesterday for the first time since spraining his right ankle in the season opener. Tomlinson hopes he can play Sunday night against the Steelers. "I want to play in this game," Tomlinson said. "But again, that's dependent on how the ankle does."
• Ryan Clark hasn't been able to put any good licks on any opponents so far this season and is getting a little antsy. Teams have stayed away from the deep middle of the field where Clark roams. That should all change Sunday when Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers come to town. "Seeing all those passes down the field, I thought it was a highlight film," Clark said. "They were going deep so much inside the numbers, and that's where I play. I might get some action this week and hit a few people and try to stay away from getting fined. It is going to be awesome." Rivers, who leads the league in passing yards, has completed 25 passes this year for 15 yards or more, most of which came in between the numbers. "It seems like they have been throwing the ball down the field a good amount of time," linebacker James Farrior said. "I am sure they are going to take their shots." The Steelers have allowed only two plays to travel 25 yards or more. The Chargers had three (30, 47, 55 yards) last week against Miami alone.
• Roethlisberger, Clark and Ward will join at least 100 players around the league supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing hot pink shoes along with their throwback uniforms Sunday night.
• Not practicing for the Steelers were C Hartwig (ankle), TE David Johnson (ankle), RB Willie Parker (toe), S Troy Polamalu (knee) and Ward (not injury related).
5 — Wins San Diego has over the previous year's Super Bowl champs since 2003
0 — Wins San Diego has at Heinz Field since its opening in 2001