Ben ready to step up big as a leader


By Teresa Varley


The Steelers completed their first two days of OTA's on Tuesday and one thing that emerged from them is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's desire to become more a leader.


"I'm just growing as a leader and a quarterback, that's my natural growing and maturation here on this team," said Roethlisberger. "I'm trying to become more of a vocal leader out there and be around the guys.


"It feels good to be out here and have another year of the offense under our belt. I feel more comfortable in these OTAs and I'm sure in minicamp than we did last year at this time."


Roethlisberger's leadership role comes at a good time as he just signed a long-term deal to be the leader of the team's offense.


"It feels good knowing I'm hopefully going to be here for awhile," said Roethlisberger. "It's nice."

And now he is interested in finding out who is going to be with him for the long-haul. Roethlisberger plans on tuning in when it's time for the Steelers to make their selection in this weekend's NFL Draft.

"I'll keep tabs when it's our pick," he said. "It may take four hours, five hours to get to our pick. I'll watch and see how we're doing. If we get an offensive guy at whatever position, I usually try to get his phone number and give him a call and tell him it's nice to have him, congratulations and stuff."  

Running back Willie Parker hit the field for the first time this week since suffering a fractured right leg against the Rams in December.

Parker said he is able to run and cut at full speed but does experience some pain after the fact.

"I'm really close to 100 percent," said Parker. "I am not there yet. But I feel real good. I am out there running full speed.

"When the pain goes away, that's when I'll be 100 percent. I can do everything full speed, it's just the after pain."

For Parker getting back on the field was the perfect remedy for what has been a long offseason of hard work.

"I feel real good being out here, getting the plays done," said Parker. "It's more mental than anything. I can do physical stuff all day long."

Despite the success he has had Parker has had plenty of doubters throughout his career. He knows that won't change as his road to recovery continues.

"I know they're going to doubt me a hundred times more than they did before," Parker said of the skeptics. "I'm going to prove everybody wrong. I'm going to keep working."

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