Ben: 'It's an honor to have this opportunity'

On Sunday Ben Roethlisberger sat at home in Pittsburgh watching the Steelers-Browns game with his family after being ruled out to give him some rest before the playoffs.

As he watched along with his family, getting lots of questions from his son Benjamin, he kept a close eye on things knowing there was the potential he might see the Browns in person real soon.

And that is exactly what happened as the Steelers host the Browns at Heinz Field in the Wild Card Round on Sunday Night Football.

"I enjoyed watching the game, not as much as playing in it," said Roethlisberger. "I sat at home and watched it with my family. I felt like my son asked me a question every single play, so I felt like I was really extra engaged in it.

"Watching it with the knowledge that potentially we could play them again, but not knowing what opponent it was going to be. I would love to have known early on it was them, but I definitely watched it close."

Roethlisberger is looking forward to Sunday's game, just like he does every opportunity he has to play in the postseason. He knows how precious those moments are, how rare they can be, and how you have to take advantage of every opportunity. He has played in 21 career postseason games, but not since 2017, and admits you never know when it will be your last opportunity as they aren't guaranteed.

"I think every player should approach this playoff game like it could be their last playoff game ever," said Roethlisberger. "We've used examples of players and coaches who have been in this league for a long time that have never been in the postseason, never been to a Super Bowl, whatever it may be. I think it's prudent for every player to take that mindset and approach. I know I am because nothing is guaranteed in the game, or this world."

Roethlisberger, who said they had another players only meeting on Wednesday to talk about the postseason, said he feels the meetings are valuable as he can already see how the young players have responded to a players only meeting held a few weeks ago.

"I think guys took it to heart, I hope they did," said Roethlisberger. "The sole intention was just to let guys know that, like we do every year about this time, if we are getting ready to get in the postseason or the last couple of games of the season, just how important every game is, every play is, every rep in practice. I felt like today was another time we could reemphasize that and just let people know how special it is.

"Half of the teams in the NFL aren't playing this week so it's an honor to have the opportunity."

When it comes to Roethlisberger's receivers, only JuJu Smith-Schuster has playoff experience, and that is minimal. He played in one postseason game in 2017, but that is it for the receivers.

"I was talking to JuJu this morning and I didn't realize the only time he has been in the playoffs was that Jaguars game his rookie year," said Roethlisberger. "There are a lot of guys that don't understand what it's about. I get it. When I was a young guy people tried to explain to me that take advantage of this, that and the other. You're thinking I am young; I'll get back. It's not guaranteed. I think all of the veteran guys as we are winding down our careers, we understand we don't know what is next. If there is going to be a next for some guys.

"We just want to make the most of our opportunity and we just keep trying to tell those guys and emphasize to them how important this time is."

More from Ben:

On how do you avoid the trap of being favored at home:
You can say trap. It's the playoffs, there is no such thing as someone's favored, someone's not favored. I don't believe in all of that. This is the postseason where every team wants it just as bad as the next team. It is interesting because is there really a homefield advantage? I don't know. It's just a different year all together. We have to go into with the mindset that we need to play our best football and we are going to get their best.

On how important it is to get Chase Claypool involved early:
It's important. It's important we get everybody involved early. We have a lot of playmakers. We have a lot of guys that can do some special things for us. He is definitely one of them. In order for us to be successful as an offense we need everybody to contribute and to contribute early and often.

On how helpful was getting the rest last week:
In terms of the rest and the time off, I feel it 100%. My legs feel a lot better. My knees feel fresher. I haven't thrown a football other than throwing it in the house with them. I am going to do more today as Wednesday is typically a day off. Today I am going to do more than half of practice just to get back in the groove of it. I have enjoyed these last couple of days just to get my body, especially this time of year, get back.

On if playing without packed houses, without fans in many places, is that an advantage, a disadvantage:
I hate it for the fans. I think about what Heinz Field would be like Sunday night. Anyone who has been there knows how special it would be. I hate it for them. I hate it for the Steelers for the energy and excitement that it brings. But once again, that is what we are doing. That is what we are living in. I wonder how much home field advantage is going to play into it. Which is the other question I brought up to Coach Tomlin. In the competition committee have they talked about that? Some states are going to allow a lot more fans than others. Is that fair? Is it not fair? How does it make it equal? There are a lot of unanswered questions but that is the year we are living in.

On how he would you feel about using Josh Dobbs in the postseason, something Coach Mike Tomlin hasn't ruled out:
I though Josh did a great job too with his handful of plays and kind of sacrificed his body on a couple of them too. He took some shots and whatnot. I think that is the cool part is no one knows who is going to start this game at quarterback. We've got three options. That's going to be the fun part. I am all for it. I literally will do whatever it takes to win this football game. You never know what you are going to see.

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