Roethlisberger works out at Hampton
Suspended Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has moved from the team's South Side training facility to Hampton High School's Fridley Field for workouts during his four-game NFL ban.
Hampton athletic director Bill Cardone confirmed that Roethlisberger, a Hampton resident, has worked out at the field twice since the embattled two-time Super Bowl champion contacted the school last week, asking for permission to use its facilities.
Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy and is not allowed to interact with the Steelers for the duration of the suspension. In the past offseason, he was accused of -- but not charged with -- sexual assault after a night of drinking at a college bar in Milledgeville, Ga.
Despite Roethlisberger's high-profile status and much-publicized, off-the-field issues, Cardone said he had no issue letting him use the field.
"Obviously, he's a resident, and our field is open to residents," Cardone said. "He just contacted me to make sure it was OK."
Cardone added that Roethlisberger had called before using the field to make sure his workouts with new quarterbacks coach George Whitfield Jr. of California wouldn't be conflicting with gym classes or practices on the field.
"He's a high-profile guy, but he was very humble and didn't want to interrupt anything we were doing at the stadium," he said.
But Roethlisberger hasn't completely avoided interacting with his new hosts.
On Thursday, Roethlisberger voluntarily spoke at the Hampton football team meeting known as "the huddle." The weekly gathering is described by Talbots coach Jacque DeMatteo as a spin-off of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization and allows coaches and players to discuss various on-the-field and off-the-field issues in a religious light.
Roethlisberger's attendance at the meeting was welcome, though DeMatteo had some initial concerns that eventually subsided.
"At first, I had some reservations, to be honest with you, just because of the whole situation," he said. "He really spoke from his heart about some of the mistakes in his past. I think he was trying to rectify some of the mistakes in his past. With our boys, I think he made a connection.
"Ben divulged information to us about his own personal life, like losing his mother when he was young. You put him on a pedestal, and you forget he is human."
Roethlisberger was unable to be reached for a comment. His agent, Ryan Tollner, said the quarterback's low profile is part of the strategy they've put in place during the suspension.
"I hope that people will respect that he's trying to keep his head down and go to work and ready to play when he's going to play," Tollner said. "He doesn't feel he deserves credit for the things he's doing, for speaking from his heart."
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