- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ben Roethlisberger was making a joke Wednesday afternoon, but there might have been a bit of seriousness to it as well.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was asked about the Detroit Lions' defensive tackle tandem of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, and whether his mindset about extending plays might change with those two running at him, Roethlisberger acknowledged the need for caution.
"Well, yeah, you've got to be careful," he said. "You'll end up dead if you're not careful. This is a great D-line and defense.
"Yeah, well, I tell myself all the time to be alert for those things. But then, when the bullets are flying, who knows what's going to happen?"
About a half-hour after Roethlisberger discussed his careful-or-death plan, Suh and Fairley had their own responses.
On a podium in front of media members, Suh made a quick face before answering Roethlisberger's statement.
"That's interesting," Suh said. "I'm not a killer. My track record proves that one.
"I guess I can take that somewhat as a compliment. But no, there's going to be no killing on Sunday."
Roethlisberger has been sacked more often than any other quarterback over the past five seasons. In fact, he has been sacked 379 times since the start of the 2001 season, also tops in the league.
Part of the reason Roethlisberger holds on to the ball longer than the majority of his peers is because of his commitment to making plays. He feels if he gives up too early on a play, it could cost the Steelers the potential for a bigger play.
Like Suh, Fairley ensured no actual death on Sunday. He did, however, talk about staying alive in his own particular rushes.
"I wouldn't say 'kill someone,' but if we stay alive in our rushes, sooner or later we're going to get there," Fairley said. "He's the type of quarterback that's going to hold the ball to extend plays. And watching, Coach telling us this morning, we just gotta stay alive.
"We can be on one side of the field, and he can reverse and come back to you. So just stay alive in the rush. That's what we're going to try and harp on."
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.
13hEric D. Williams