PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) - Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joined The Cook and Poni Show on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan for the season debut of the #1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show which airs every Tuesday morning at 11 am during the Steelers season.
Ben opened things up talking about the preseason being over and his excitement to get out there and play.
"We're ready," Ben said. "You get the preseason going, you're playing your preseason games, you're practicing against yourself and we just want to get out there and play football."
The offense this season is going to start the year without Le'Veon Bell for the first 3 games and will be missing Martavis Bryant for the entire season due to suspensions and Ben talked about the guys who will step up in their absence.
"I think guys you haven't heard of, Eli Rogers, I think our tight ends will be better than people expect," Ben told us. "I've always said to you guys and to everybody that the key to our success is the boys up front, and those guys are playing some really good football right now."
That being said, Ben was asked about the notion that this team will be successful as long as they have him throwing to Antonio Brown and the pressure that puts on their shoulders.
"We welcome the challenge...we don't like it not having everybody on the field, but we have to step up and guys have to rise to the challenge."
Speaking of the suspended players, Ben talked about their relationship saying it's "great" and gave us some insight into what happened with Bell's missed tests.
"In talking to him and understanding the situation, it's not like he failed any tests. It was a lack of showing up to a test because they called him first thing in the morning while he was still asleep."
Despite missing these players and facing other challenges like not having tight end Ladarius Green available, Ben said the Super Bowl is still within their reach.
"I really do," Ben said when asked if he thinks this team can win it all. "I really think that if we can weather the storm of not having guys early, we've got enough veteran guys, we're an old enough team now, especially on offense, and with the guys up front, if they keep playing good football, I think we can be as good as we want to be."
The Steelers Quarterback was also asked about the topic everyone was talking about last week, Colin Kaepernick sitting down in protest during the National Anthem.
"To me, it's time to move on," Ben told us. "To me, the Anthem stands for this country, it stands for the flag, for the troops that currently serve, that have served..the families who have lost soldiers. My left tackle (Alejandro Villanueva), who is a brother, who served three tours, that's what the flag and the National Anthem is to me. Obviously Colin has the right to use the platform that he has to speak up and stand up for things he believes are wrong in this country...and good for him for using it, but to me, the Anthem is about that, just the soldiers and this country that we get to play a sport. They've given us the freedom to play a sport, football, and be free."
Ben spoke further about his teammate Alejandro Villanueva and his own teammates standing for the National Anthem.
"As far as I know, our whole team stands for the Anthem. Like I said, if you're not standing for your brother, Al, who is on our team, or you believe in the troops or not or what this country or the flag or the Anthem stands for, you should stand up for your brother who is on our team who served for this country."
Between the suspensions his teammates have faced, the league questioning James Harrison about what turned out to be false accusations over Performance Enhancing Drugs and this Colin Kaepernick situation, Ben was asked for this thoughts on the relationship between the players and the NFL's league office.
"No comment," Ben said laughing. "Literally, even on my own radio show, you have to be careful what you say because everything is being monitored, they're probably listening right now, so I think I'll leave that one alone and hopefully that speaks for itself."
Ben was also asked about expectations on the field for himself as he has been listed as a favorite to win the league's MVP award this year.
"I'm not an individual accomplishment type guy. I want to win championships and if I'm not even on the consideration for MVP but win a World Championship, I'll take that all day over being an MVP and not winning."
You can hear the entire interview below.
The #1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show is heard exclusively every Tuesday at 11 am during the Steelers season on The Cook and Poni Show on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.
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