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Roethlisberger: Noll should be remembered as 'greatest coach of all time'

| Monday, June 16, 2014, 3:42 p.m.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger works with kids at his football camp Monday, June 16, 2014, at Seneca Valley.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger works with the kids at his football camp Monday June 16, 2014 at Seneca valley High School in Harmony.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger speaks with the media at his youth football camp Monday June 16, 2014 at Seneca valley High School in Harmony.

Chuck Noll won his fourth and final Super Bowl before Ben Roethlisberger was born, but the Steelers quarterback knows how the most successful coach in team history should be remembered.

“If you ask people who know the game of football, I think he gets all the credit. He's the greatest coach of all time,” Roethlisberger said Monday. “If you look at what he did, and what he's done for the Steelers organization. I think I saw a quote from Mr. (Dan) Rooney, saying that he made the Steelers who they are.

“Maybe to the outside world, he's not as credited as he should be, but people who know football know how special he was.”

Funeral services will be held Tuesday at St. Paul's Cathedral in Oakland for Noll, who died Friday night of natural causes at age 82.

After Noll passed away, Roethlisberger found himself watching over the weekend as NFL Network replayed some of the Steelers' Noll-era games.

“They were fun to go back and watch. It's neat to see, knowing the Mel Blounts, the Joe Greenes — it's so neat to go back and watch how they played the game,” said Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winner.

Roethlisberger arrived in Pittsburgh in 2004, 13 years after Noll last coached, and he met Noll only once. But he said that what Noll and his teams accomplished in the 1970s resonates with the current players.

Noll's last Super Bowl victory came 35 seasons ago, yet the four Super Bowl wins remain the most of any coach.

“The legacy of his teams — the Steel Curtain, the defense, the tradition that is the Pittsburgh Steelers — he was the leader,” the 32-year-old Roethlisberger said. “He was the guy that embodied all that and led those guys to the championships. For any guy (current player) that comes in and knows the tradition, the history of the Steelers, it started with him — his legacy is why we play today.”

The Steelers wrap up their pre-training camp work with a three-day mandatory minicamp that starts Tuesday. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who worked out on his own while the Steelers held voluntary workouts the last three weeks, is expected to attend.

With so many new-to-the-Steelers receivers to break in, including Lance Moore, Dri Archer, Martavis Bryant and Darrius Heyward-Bey, Roethlisberger said the minicamp and training camp that starts July 25 are important to getting the passing game in sync.

“I think we're going to do a lot of no-huddle stuff, just getting to work with some of the new guys,” Roethlisberger said. “That's why I think, going into my 11th one of these (camps), the mindset's always different, but this one has to be about learning and working little things.”

Roethlisberger likes what he's seen so far, especially the fully healthy return of tight end Heath Miller, who was recovering from a serious right knee injury at this time a year ago.

Miller fought through the aftereffects of tearing his ACL and MCL even while catching 58 passes in 14 games last season.

“He has looked healthy right from the get-go, looks kind of like the old Heath,” Roethlisberger said. “One of the practices, he caught a pass about 12 yards downfield and made a move and actually made a guy miss, and he finished all the way down the field. That was the Heath Miller we love to see.”

Roethlisberger made the remarks at his annual youth football camp, which was attended by hundreds Monday at Seneca Valley High School.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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