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Ben Roethlisberger On Playing Surfaces, Refs & Life After Football

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- With just one more preseason game left, the Steelers' 80th season kicks off in just a few weeks.

Ben Roethlisberger has been a big part of the team's success since 2004 and tonight, as he prepares for the new season, he is talking candidly, only on KDKA.

One more preseason game and then it all begins – the quest for a 7th Lombardi Trophy. That road already has some potholes as we have seen injuries to both David Johnson and No. 1 pick David DeCastro.

KDKA's Bob Pompeani spoke with Ben Roethlisberger about a lot of topics, including DeCastro's injury which in his mind had a lot to do with the condition of the turf in Buffalo.

"Natural grass is so much better to play on – players love playing on the natural grass compared to an artificial surface," he said. "The NFL nowadays is doing so much to 'protect players' and players' health and concussions and all these injuries – well, that artificial surface is a harder surface. I think guys when they slam their heads seem to get more concussions than on natural grass."

"…I saw a study the other day that 88 percent of injuries occur on artificial surface – knee injuries – occur on artificial surfaces compared to grass," Roethlisberger continued. "I don't think people really realized that. I know I was shocked when I saw that number. So, I'm just thankful that the Rooneys are all about grass and that we'll stay on it."

Bob Pompeani: "The other thing we've seen after three preseason games is replacement officials. They tend to slow the game down, seem to be indecisive. I just want to get your take as a player. Can you go on into the regular season with replacement officials?"

Ben Roethlisberger: "Slows the game down a little bit. It makes it … I just hope that guys don't get hurt because whether they don't know what to look for, they're not used to looking for it, whatever it is. Hopefully we can get the, the commissioner can get this thing figured out."

It was hard to figure out what had hit the Steelers back in January 11 seconds into overtime – the quickest ending to an overtime game in NFL history and the Steelers were on the losing end.

"Every loss stinks – especially when it's your last one of the year – you know you're done – so, it's tough but you have to move on," Roethlisberger said. "As a quarterback, you're used to putting things in your rearview mirror and that's what you have to do."

But, for many athletes, putting your career in the rearview mirror is very hard to do. Recently, Terrell Owens was cut after trying to hang on again and Roger Clemens is still pitching at the age of 50.

"I think everyone comes back for a different reason whether it's monetary, whether it's just nothing else to do in your life, maybe just a love for it – whatever it is," Roethlisberger said. "But, when that time comes I've always heard, 'Make sure you have something else to do' because usually the guys [who] come back have nothing else to do in life. So, when that day comes, we'll play it out, but when I'm done, I think I'm done."

"It'll be hard because you're in such a routine of everyday doing the same thing and seeing the guys and being around them, but like I said, when it's time to be around the family, I think that'll be a great day."

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