Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger drew some attention last year when he self-reported concussion symptoms, and he explained his reasoning earlier this year to the MMQB about how brain injuries shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Roethlisberger has dealt with concussions in his career, and this Thursday he’ll face a team who’s quarterback is dealing with one. Andrew Luck is in the concussion protocol, and while Roethlisberger expects him to play, he wouldn’t blame Luck for missing the contest.
“Absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to play,” Roethlisberger told Indianapolis reporters today. “I will tell him, and this has nothing to do with football, but just to be smart. The brain is nothing to mess with. He is young and has a long career ahead of himself.”
Roethlisberger said that the reason he expects Luck to play is because he’s a competitor, because it’s a primetime Thanksgiving night game, and because he’s one of the best in the game, but he also had a warning: “I mean it with all sincerity to him to be very serious and take it seriously because the brain is one thing you can’t mess with.” Shortly thereafter, he also added that, “If he is smart and if he does say that he doesn’t feel ready to go out there, then there will be no knock on him coming from me by any imagination.”
While some will see it as Roethlisberger just hoping that his opponent is weaker, it truly does seem to be a quarterback hoping the best for his quarterback counterpart and wanting Luck to make sure he’s smart and cautious with the injury. In the grand scheme of things, one game isn’t the most important thing in the world.
“[Injuries are] a part of football,” said Roethlisberger, who’s had his fair share of injuries throughout his career. “Like you said before, you can rub dirt on a lot of things, but you can’t rub dirt on the brain so you have to be smart with that. When you play this game long enough you are bound to have injuries because it is a violent sport.”
Basically, Roethlisberger’s message to Luck is this: be smart and be careful. That’s very good and wise advice, and it’s something that some players don’t think through as much in their relentless pursuit to get back on the field. If Luck really doesn’t play (which is expected), he won’t get any criticism from Roethlisberger or many others.