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Thursday, September 26, 2013
Roethlisberger off target with comments

By Scott Brown

Steel City wake-up call: morning links

Ben Roethlisberger tried to defuse any controversy the Steelers quarterback may have started Tuesday on his own radio show. Roethlisberger said during his weekly chat with the media on Wednesday that he wasn’t calling out Le'Veon Bell when his comments were interpreted by some to have questioned the rookie running back’s willingness to fight through injuries.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier opines that Roethlisberger sent the wrong message with his take on Bell -- just as he and the veteran players sent the wrong message when they instituted a rule that bans those with less than four years of NFL experience from playing pool, pingpong or shuffleboard in the locker room during working hours.

Bell will make his NFL debut Sunday across the pond, and it can’t come soon enough for a rushing attack that is averaging 51.7 yards per game. The Steelers made Bell the second running back in the NFL draft last April, and they had high hopes for the former Michigan State star before injuries sidetracked him. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert went as far as comparing Bell with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Whoa. Let’s tap the brakes a little on expectations, but the larger point that Gilbert made is well-taken. Bell should provide a major boost to the running game.

Ramon Foster met with coach Mike Tomlin earlier this week, and the veteran left guard is taking it upon himself to lead the Steelers’ young offensive line. Foster agrees with Roethlisberger that the linemen need to play with more of an attitude. It starts Sunday in London.

Wembley Stadium is also where the Steelers will have to contain Peterson, who is unquestionably the best running back in the NFL. Peterson is not lacking for anything in his game, and the Steelers will have to match his physicality if they are to beat the Vikings. The run defense has sprung a few early leaks. If the Steelers don’t shore them up Peterson could have a big game against them.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown had the biggest game of his career last Sunday night, but it did not come without cost. Brown has been fined for two separate plays in the Steelers’ 40-23 loss. No word on whether arson charges are pending due to his torching of the Bears' secondary.

It’s never too early for a mock draft, right? Here is one that has the Steelers picking seventh overall in the 2014 draft, and it has them addressing (surprise, surprise) the offensive line with their first selection.