ShareThis Page

Tomlin counts on Roethlisberger's presence

| Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin expects franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to attend offseason workouts and practices.

Roethlisberger, facing a sexual assault allegation in Georgia, has not been at workouts that started March 15. But Tomlin said Tuesday at the NFL owners' meetings that he staggers the start of training for players based on their status.

Established veterans such as Roethlisberger are not scheduled to report for workouts until Monday.

Tomlin said he does not know if Roethlisberger will attend the workouts, which are voluntary. But he said Roethlisberger is too competitive to stay away from offseason workouts and organized team practices, which begin April 19, for an extended period.

"It's not in his DNA," Tomlin said. "When it's time for him to be there, he'll be there."

Reiterating the stance team president Art Rooney II took last week, Tomlin said the Steelers are not considering contingency plans at quarterback.

Roethlisberger and Dennis Dixon are the only quarterbacks on the roster, though the team hopes to re-sign Charlie Batch.

As for signing another quarterback to protect themselves with Roethlisberger's status uncertain, Tomlin said, "Of course, if we have to we will, but I don't think it's gotten to that point where we need to make those hard and fast decisions. That's an 'if' at this point, and I don't deal with 'ifs.'"

While Roethlisberger's reputation has taken a hit, Tomlin had good things to say when asked about his quarterback as a person and player.

"He's a ridiculous competitor, a good guy, a guy that wants to win, a guy that doesn't mind toting the burden that comes with being the quarterback of our football team," Tomlin said. "Really what you see is what you get, from my perspective."

Tomlin's take

Here are selected comments Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made Tuesday regarding Ben Roethlisberger, who has been accused of sexual assault stemming from a March 5 incident in Milledgeville, Ga.:

On Roethlisberger getting accused of sexual assault with a civil suit pending against him :

"Really, it doesn't serve me, it doesn't serve the organization, it doesn't serve Ben for me to continue to add comments at this point. We've been pretty clear from Art Rooney II on down about where we are at this point. As the investigation continues to develop, as things change, we'll react appropriately."

On NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's intent to meet with Roethlisberger :

"He's well within his rights, of course, in terms of meeting with him. I share his concerns."

On whether franchise quarterbacks are held to a higher standard in the NFL :

"I think it's safe to say that all of us are held to an extremely high standard. It's a privilege to be part of the National Football League, both players and coaches -- front office personnel, for that matter. Everyone. It's a very sensitive opportunity, and we have to take the luggage that comes with it."

On how disappointed he is that Roethlisberger put himself in his current situation :

"My degree of disappointment really is irrelevant. It's kind of like during the season sometimes when you guys ask me to express my degree of frustration with a situation, it doesn't solve the situation. I learned to be somewhat a flat-liner and let things play out the way they should."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.