Three days after throwing a career-high five interceptions in a lopsided home loss to the Jaguars, Ben Roethlisberger stood before reporters Wednesday morning at the Steelers practice facility and suggested media and fans are more worried about his — and the team’s — performance than he is.
The loss dropped the Steelers to 3-2 as they head to Kansas City to face the undefeated Chiefs, the lone remaining unbeaten team in the NFL.
“We’re still atop the AFC North,” Roethlisberger said before the team took the field for the first practice of the week. “We’re right there in the hunt in the AFC. I think you guys are much more panicked than we are. As you can see, I’m not real shaken by last week and nervous or worried. We’ll be ready to go play football this week.”
Two of Roethlisberger’s interceptions were returned for touchdowns. The first one gave the Jaguars a 13-9 lead. The second one, a short time later, gave them a 20-9 advantage.
One reporter asked him how he remained confident after such a poor outing.
“Two Super Bowls, 100 and some wins,” he said. “I’ve been playing this game probably longer than you’ve been covering it.”
Roethlisberger’s play has been the subject of many segments on national networks early this week. Stephen A. Smith of ESPN opined Roethlisberger should retire on “First Take.” Others have piled on and suggested he is no longer one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
“That’s fine,” Roethlisberger said. “They can question me. I don’t question myself. No offense to you guys. It doesn’t matter to me how you guys question me or quote unquote professional talking heads on other sports networks who are supposed experts and things like that.”
Some athletes use outside critiques as motivation. A reporter from ESPN asked how Roethlisberger responds when he hears the critiques.
“Ignore it, especially your network,” he said.
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Hawkins dead at 73
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Eagles wide receiver Ben Hawkins died on Monday, the team said. He was 73.
A third-round pick of the Eagles in 1966, Hawkins spent eight of his nine NFL seasons in Philadelphia, where he played 102 games (67 starts) from 1966-73. He is tied for ninth in team history in receiving TDs (32), 10th in receiving yards (4,764) and 19th in receptions (261).
His single-season career high of 1,265 receiving yards in 1967 is the fifth-best mark in team history.
He is survived by his longtime partner of 38 years Mary Duggan, and his two children, Benjamin Michael and Nichole Tamara.
Foerster was ‘isolated incident’
DAVIE, Fla. — Dolphins coach Adam Gase said he’s confident the apparent issues with Chris Foerster, the disgraced former offensive line coach, are limited to Foerster alone.
“To me, it was an isolated incident,” Gase said Wednesday. “Really, that’s the best answer I can give you. A lot of people are just a little surprised.”
Foerster resigned Monday after a video surfaced in which he was snorting a powdery white substance and talking to a woman later identified as Kijuana Nige Sherrod, a Las Vegas model.
Sherrod said on the Dan LeBatard Show on ESPN radio that she met Foerster in Oxnard, Calif., when the Dolphins were practicing there and fleeing Hurricane Irma in September.
Gase said he’s talked with owner Steve Ross about the Foerster episode.
“He was in town, so I was able to meet with him,” Gase said. “I talked to him about a lot of different things that have happened over the last month and just kind of game-planning going forward, kind of how we want to handle things on the field, off the field. It’s typical type things that we do whenever he’s in town.”
— Sun Sentinel
Brady not worried
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is telling New England fans not to worry about the left shoulder injury that kept him out of practice earlier in the week.
Brady says he’ll be on the field Sunday to play the New York Jets in a fight for first place in the AFC East.
Brady reportedly went for an MRI on the left shoulder this week. But he says it’s just the typical bumps and bruises all players pick up this time of year.
The 40-year-old Brady leads the NFL with 1,702 passing yards. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns with one interception and another pick-6 that was officially ruled a fumble.
He’s also been sacked 16 times, more than in all 12 games he played in last year.
Luck to work out twice
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck will be back on the Colts’ practice field Thursday and Saturday this week.
Coach Chuck Pagano gave the update during a conference call Wednesday.
Pagano described Luck’s progression as “coming along good.”
The Colts’ quarterback returned to practice last Wednesday, the first time he’s worked out with his teammates since having surgery on his throwing shoulder in January. So far, Luck has been limited to throwing every other day.
In his latest update, Pagano said Luck’s strength was improving, but that he wouldn’t risk a setback by rushing his best player back too quickly.
Ditka apologizes for comment
CHICAGO (AP) — Mike Ditka is apologizing for saying he wasn’t aware of any racial oppression in the U.S. over the last 100 years.
The famed former Chicago Bears coach issued the apology Tuesday, a day after he made the comments during a radio interview while discussing National Football League players kneeling during the National Anthem.
Ditka was harshly criticized for seemingly ignoring Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation and the lynching of blacks that occurred well into his lifetime.
In a statement later posted on WGN-TV , the Hall of Fame player and Super Bowl-winning coach said he was talking about the NFL, not society overall.
His radio comments came ahead of the Bears’ game Monday night.