Steelers’ veteran leaders Roethlisberger, Ward take charge |

Steelers’ veteran leaders Roethlisberger, Ward take charge

Ben Roethlisberger called Hines Ward on Tuesday to see how the concussed wide receiver was doing.

The Steelers’ offense, which ranks 24th in the NFL and has struggled inside the red zone, may start feeling better as a result of their conversation.

“He actually brought up, ‘Listen, lead us, show us how to do this,'” Roethlisberger said. “I said, ‘Well, listen, it’s us. Let’s do this together. I need you as much as you need me, and we all need this together.’ It was a good talk between us.”

The joint decision to reassert themselves as the leaders of the offense — the two served as offensive co-captains in 2008-09 — comes at a critical juncture for the Steelers.

They are coming off the worst home loss of the Mike Tomlin era.

Another loss Sunday to the visiting Oakland Raiders might heighten anxieties because the Steelers are just a season removed from dropping five games in a row, including one to Oakland, after a 6-2 start.

“It’s time to have a sense of urgency,” said Ward, who practiced yesterday and said he has experienced no lingering effects from the concussion sustained last Sunday against the New England Patriots. “I told (Roethlisberger), ‘Captain or not captain, you’re a leader of this team.’ We’ve all got to come together as a group and get this thing back going so what happened last year doesn’t happen again.”

Tomlin reinforced the Steelers’ need to have a sense of urgency by having them practice in full pads.

The Steelers rarely do that on Wednesdays during the season, and Tomlin sent a text message to veteran free safety Ryan Clark prior to yesterday about the change in routine.

“I told him I already knew,” Clark said. “It’s not a punishment. We understand what’s going on. You can’t have a game where you feel like you don’t win physically, defensively and offensively, and not put the pads on and address it.

“Nobody in here’s upset. Nobody in here feels it’s unwarranted. We know we need this work.”

Roethlisberger said he plans on becoming more of a vocal leader. He said in the past his style was to pull individual players aside to talk to them. That, he strongly hinted, will change after his conversation with Ward.

“We both kind of said, ‘It’s time for us as veteran guys, leaders that have been around here for a while and played postseason ball to lead these guys that have only done it once or twice or never. We have to show them how to do this,'” Roethlisberger said. “I think that’s the re-focus that he and I have, that we can hopefully show other people by it.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.