Ben Roethlisberger played one of the worst games of his NFL career one week after sustaining a concussion in 2006. He is days removed from his fourth concussion in four years, an uncommonly high number even for an NFL player.
Regardless, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is going through “a normal week” of preparation for a pivotal game at Baltimore on Sunday night and has every intention of playing.
“It’s part of the nature of the beast of playing this game. It’s a violent, physical contact sport and there’s a chance you’re going to get hit,” Roethlisberger said Thursday. “You guys don’t talk about the bruises we have all over our body. If I showed you a bruise on my shoulder and a bruise on my shin, it wouldn’t get talked about as much. It’s a violent sport we play.”
Roethlisberger, who is having his best season statistically despite the Steelers’ erratic play, is evidence of that.
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The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback’s latest concussion occurred when his head accidentally struck the knee of Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson while he was being tackled during Pittsburgh’s 27-24 overtime loss Sunday.
The play was subsequently wiped out by a holding call.
“It just kind of felt like I got hit pretty hard. Kind of said, ‘Let me catch my breath real quick,’ and by that time the trainers were out there, so I didn’t get a chance to get up,” Roethlisberger said.
The concussion was his second resulting from a hard hit in 12 months; he also was hurt during an unimportant end-of-season game against Cleveland on Dec. 28. A third concussion occurred in Atlanta in 2006, only four months after a motorcycle crash in which he wasn’t wearing a helmet left him with a concussion and numerous other injuries.