After an offseason full of turmoil a year ago, Ben Roethlisberger’s teammates sent him a message when they didn’t vote him as a team captain for the first time in three years mostly likely because of his boorish off-the-field behavior.
Those same teammates sent a very different message on Sunday when they voted Roethlisberger offensive co-captain for the third time in the past four years.
“Anytime you are voted captain by your teammates it means a good deal to you,” tight end Heath Miller said, who was voted to replace Roethlisberger as captain last year. “Ben has come back and has become the leader of this team and that was indicative today.”
Roethlisberger was also co-captain in 2008 and 2009. Wide receiver Hines Ward was named the other offensive co-captain for the seventh consecutive season.
“He has done a great job of opening himself up to the team and keeping his nose clean,” said lineman Willie Colon about Roethlisberger. “He is in a real good, stable comfort place. He has taken on more of a leader role than a lot of us. He is a lights-out player so why not?”
Roethlisberger has cleaned up his act ever since being accused of sexually assualting a college girl in Georgia last year. After serving a four-game suspension, Roethlisberger has been humbled by actions. He has opened up more to his teammates and to the media. He was voted the Chief Award winner last year with his cooperation with the media. Roethlisberger also got married two months ago.
Veteran linebacker James Farrior was named defensive captain for the eighth straight year and Arnaz Battle was named special teams captain for the first time in his career.
“It is an honor,” Battle said. “My teammates have confidence in me to go out there and lead them. They believe in my leadership and my ability to lead this unit.”
Also, the Steelers signed eight players to their practice squad in rookies RB John Clay, OL Trevis Turner and DE Corbin Bryant along with TE Jamie McCoy, WR Tyler Grisham, OL John Malecki, LB Mortty Ivy and DB Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith.
– By Mark Kaboly