BEN ROETHLISBERGER SIGNING
Dan Rooney: I am glad to see you all here for Ben's 26th birthday. I am really pleased to announce that Ben Roethlisberger will be with the Steelers for a long time. We reached an agreement to extend his contract for eight years. We look forward to winning more Super Bowls and having a great season. It is going to be a lot of fun. He has been great in the time that he has been here. He is a great person on and off the field. He comes from a great family. We are really pleased. I would like to commend Bruce and Ryan Tollner and Omar (Khan) for bringing it together. But it was easy, don't let them act like they did something because of Ben and how he handled the situation. He is a Steeler, and he will always be a Steeler. We are very pleased with that and what the future will be for us.
Ben Roethlisberger: I would like to say thank you to the Rooney family, the Steelers, Coach Tomlin, Omar (Khan), Kevin (Colbert), my agents Ryan (Tollner) and Bruce (Tollner), my teammates, my family. There are a lot of thank you's. As Mr. Rooney said, it was my birthday yesterday. This is a great birthday present to know that I am going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler for a long time. I told them that I didn't want to go anywhere the day I walked in and that stays true. I am glad that I have the opportunity to be here a little bit longer and hopefully finish my career, get another one of these to finish my career in the black and gold. I told them probably a week ago that I look good in the black and gold and nothing else. Like I said, a lot of thank you's, especially to my teammates. I got a lot of text messages and a lot of calls from the guys, it means a lot to be here and be their leader. It is an opportunity now for me to get more involved in the community, more involved with foundations and helping other guys out as well as my own, and just trying to be a leader and a figure for the Pittsburgh Steelers for many years to come. I am very glad. Thank you again to the Rooney family.
Was it a smooth process?
Yes, it was great. Like I said, a lot of thanks go to my agents and to the Rooneys, to the organization, and to Omar and Kevin. We said that we wanted to get this done quickly and quietly and I feel like they did. I know a lot of you guys were surprised until this morning. So I am glad we got it done in a timely manner. Now we can put it all behind us and focus on putting a bunch more trophies over in that room next to us.
How much of a relief is it to get this out of the way and to not have it hanging over your head?
It is a big relief. All the questions that I have been getting for the last month hopefully can finally come to an end. Like Coach Tomlin and I said, we can put it behind us now and focus strictly on football and getting more rings and more championships for this organization.
What are you looking to do with your play?
I think that the commitment that they have given me, I will be able to give back. Being a better quarterback, being a better leader; that is what I think that this is. They put me up in more of a leadership role so it kind of comes with the territory of being the quarterback. Just trying to work that much harder to get that much better and trying to become the best. That's always been my goal since day one is to try to become the best quarterback. I appreciate the commitment that the Steelers have given me that they believe that I can be the best that I want to be.
What is this contract about right now?
This is about being a Pittsburgh Steeler for as long as I can be. I don't want to go anywhere else. I love Pittsburgh, I love the fans. They have probably the best organization and the best fans in all of sports. I didn't want to go anywhere so I am glad that we got it done and I can stay here.
Are there any hazard clauses in your contract?
I don't know all of the wording in the contract because I haven't gotten a chance to read all of it yet, all of the fine print. That is something that you will have to talk to the organization about because I am not sure.
Would you have agreed to a clause that prevented you from riding your motorcycle?
Well lucky for us the contract is done so I don't know what's in it; we will find out.
What did you drive here?
A car with four wheels.
Do you have any concerns about the immediate future of the offense?
I believe that the guys that we have on this team right now are exceptional players. I believe that we have all of the pieces to the puzzle that we can be a championship football team. We know that with the history that we have of drafting well that we will be able to bring guys in that will be able to fit the puzzle even more. It's time to strap it on and get ready to play football. Like I said, we have all of the pieces that we have right here.
Will you be restructuring this deal down the line to create more cap room?
Down the line I will be willing to do whatever the team needs. When it comes to that we will talk about it but right now it's about this year and the guys that we have right now.
How would you characterize this deal in terms of leaving cap room?
It is important to be able to keep the guys that we have. I feel that we have a great group of guys so I am excited about this year, the team that we have and the new guys that we will have coming in; free agents that we are going to get. It's exciting to be a Pittsburgh Steeler this year. I'm sure that the fans and everybody else is going to be just as excited as we are.
Was being a Steeler for life like this a goal for you?
It was a goal of mine from the day that I walked in this door. I wanted to be like the Dan Marinos, the John Elways, the guys who play with one team their entire career. That's been the goal and we got one step closer to being able to do that. The security that they have in me and the faith, hopefully I can pay that back with championships.
How does this contract affect the pressure on you to play well?
In this town there is always pressure to play well. We know that. Especially at the quarterback position there is always going to be the extra pressure to play well. I'm sure that this just adds more and adds fuel to the fire to do that much better.
Are you going to buy yourself something for you birthday?
No, it was yesterday. I have to go out and get a cake for myself I guess.