Steelers' Ward backs away from comments
BALTIMORE — Hines Ward shrugged off the notion that he started a controversy when he said in an interview taped Saturday that he wanted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to play against the Ravens — and that 50 percent of the players in the Steelers locker room felt the same way.
The interview aired on NBC's "Football Night in America," prior to the station's telecast of the Steelers' 20-17 overtime loss to the Ravens.
Ward said he simply picked the wrong words when he used "50-50 toss up" to describe how the Steelers felt about Roethlisberger playing in Baltimore after sustaining a concussion the previous week in Kansas City.
"Me calling him out or whatever, that wasn't my intention," the veteran wide receiver said.
Roethlisberger practiced all last week and said Thursday that he planned to play against the Ravens, whose game-winning field goal was set up by a Dennis Dixon interception.
Roethlisberger, however, started suffering from exercise-induced headaches at the end of the week, coach Mike Tomlin said.
Dr. Joseph Maroon, the Steelers' neurosurgeon and a leading authority on concussions, recommended to Tomlin on Saturday that Roethlisberger not play against the Ravens.
Roethlisberger suited up as the team's No. 3 quarterback, meaning he would have only been eligible to play had Dixon and backup Tyler Palko gotten hurt.
Had that happened, Tomlin said, Roethlisberger would have only gone into the game to hand off to one of the Steelers' running backs.
As for what Ward said in the interview with NBC, Tomlin dismissed that it would cause some sort of rift between the Steelers' offensive co-captains.
"I'm not worried about a problem in the locker room," Tomlin said after the Steelers lost three games in a row for the first time during his tenure. "In that instance maybe Hines was uninformed. I didn't give him the detailed explanation that went into the decision-making terms of what Dr. Maroon suggested."
Ward said his comments to NBC were a product of frustration more than anything else.
"We needed him out there; we wanted him out there," Ward said of Roethlisberger. "This is the biggest game of the year. We lose and we kind of dug ourselves in a hole. I just wish we would have had all of our weapons out there."
Said Roethlisberger, "I want to go out there and play, but the doctors told me it wasn't a good decision. The coaches told me the same thing, so I wasn't playing."
Ward said he doesn't think there will be a need to talk with Roethlisberger about the comments he made.
"I don't know what I have to say," Ward said. "I'm not going to get into a war or words with my own quarterback. It was just frustrating because we didn't find out that he wasn't starting until (last) Saturday. Finding out your starting quarterback's not playing until Saturday, it was shocking."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Steelers visit with Arizona State receiver Strong, claim long snapper
- Maligned Nebraska OLB Gregory visits Steelers
- Ex-Alabama WR Cooper gains separation from other draft prospects at position
- Steelers host two more pre-draft tight ends
- NFL draft preview: Rich harvest of receivers
- Steelers notebook: Nebraska LB scheduled to visit Steelers Thursday