Impressed with Roethlisberger


The Steelers prepare for the week 9 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

QB CONTEMPLATION:** Ben Roethlisberger's return to practice on Monday had his teammates talking, and contemplating the possibilities of the Steelers' starting quarterback returning to the starting lineup on Sunday in Baltimore.

"He looked good didn't he?" wide receiver Markus Wheaton gushed.

That said, Wheaton would be surprised if Roethlisberger plays against the Ravens.

"I would," Wheaton said, "but it would be nice. "He's our guy. Landry (Jones) did a great job, no disrespect to him, but Ben's our guy. It was exciting to see him get out there and sling it a little bit."

Cornerback Stephon Tuitt said Roethlisberger worked with the scout team and the first-team offense in Monday's practice and passed the eye test Cockrell normally applies to players coming off knee surgery and working toward a return.

"You just can see the way the guy moves, if he's favoring it too much, things like that," Cockrell said. "He did't look like that (on Monday)."

But did Roethlisberger look like a guy ready to play against the Ravens?

"I don't know," Cockrell said. "I can't put that out there, but he looked good.

"I wonder, but I also want him to be healthy, too. It's a long season. I would rather have him for the whole season than just one game."

Safety Mike Mitchell saw Roethlisberger "a little bit with the 1s (the first-team offense).

"That's up to him," Mitchell added regarding a potential Roethlisberger return. "I don't know how he's feeling but he looked like Ben.

"Whether it's Landry, (Zach) Mettenberger, I'm going to be confident just because I'm a confident human being. It really is about us on defense. If they don't score, they can't win, that's my mindset. I don't really care who we have at quarterback."

WELCOME BACK, CAM: Mitchell was excited to see defensive end Cam Heyward back practicing with the first-team defense and excited to hear Heyward's assessment of his status ("I guess I'm back").

Heyward (hamstring) has missed the Steelers' past two games.

"Big time, man, big time," Mitchell said. "Just to have his energy, his leadership, just to have him back in the huddle, you naturally get a rise from it."

PASSING THE TEST: A tumble in practice on Monday helped convince Wheaton he's ready to return.

Wheaton (shoulder) has missed the last two games and four of the first seven.

"It held up and I'm excited about that," Wheaton said. "I was a little bit hesitant going down, my eyes got big, my heart started racing. I got up good though, I was fine."


WHATEVER IT TAKES:** Right offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert has been out since the second quarter of the Oct. 2 game against Kansas City but plans to be a contributor in some capacity against the Ravens.

"Oh, yeah, I plan on being out here," Gilbert said. "I love this game so much. I miss being out there with my guys. Anything I can do to be out there and give my all, give something, I'm gonna get back out there and help this team."

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