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Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger denies report that he played with cracked ribs | TribLIVE.com
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Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger denies report that he played with cracked ribs

Joe Rutter
| Tuesday, December 18, 2018 12:00 p.m
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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass during the first quarter against the Patriots Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, at Heinz Field.

Ben Roethlisberger strongly denied a national report that said he played Sunday with cracked ribs, an injury sustained the previous week in Oakland.

Roethlisberger injured his ribs and missed most of the second half against the Raiders, but he started and played the entire game Sunday in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 17-10 victory against the New England Patriots.

On his weekly 93.7-FM radio segment, Roethlisberger shot down the suggestion that his ribs were cracked, and he refused to mention the name of the NFL Network reporter responsible for the claim.

“I have no idea where that came from,” Roethlisberger said. “My wife texted me before the game and said, ‘Did you hear about this?’ I’m in the locker room. I don’t know where that guy gets his information from, so we’re not going to give him any credence on this show.”

Roethlisberger credited the team doctors and trainers for getting him prepared to play against the Patriots, saying the staff used “heat pack, gels, things to put on” to protect his injured ribs.

“At the end of the day, you trust in the doctors and what they tell you to do,” he said. “We’re all dealing with a lot of pain this time of the year.”

Roethlisberger said he and center Maurkice Pouncey, also a team captain, concocted the idea for the Steelers to skip player introductions and exit the tunnel as a group. He made the request to coach Mike Tomlin, who told Roethlisberger his plan was to have the offensive players introduced against the Patriots.

“If we’re going to go out as a total offense, we should do it as a whole team,” Roethlisberger said. “As offensive guys, we didn’t want it to be about individuals. We wanted to go out as a group. That’s kind of where the conversation Pouncey and I started.”

Roethlisberger also said Tomlin approached him shortly before kickoff and said the Steelers would accept the ball if they won the coin toss. The Steelers typically have deferred until the second half when winning the toss.

“He said do you want to take the ball and I said, ‘Sure, whatever you want to do,’” Roethlisberger said. “He said, ‘I like that unless you have major feelings about it one way or another.’ We kind of assumed (the Patriots) would defer because it’s the thing to do in the NFL now, so we thought we were going to get the ball regardless.”

After taking the kickoff, the Steelers went 75 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown that consumed 6 minutes, 20 seconds off the clock. They never trailed in the game.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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