PITTSBURGH -- Despite Kellen Winslow II's accident and his
own coach's admonition, Big Ben isn't hopping off his big bike just
Ben Roethlisberger was lectured Friday by Steelers coach Bill
Cowher on the dangers of riding a motorcycle without a helmet -- as
Roethlisberger has been spotted doing recently -- but the
quarterback isn't ready to get off his $20,000 cycle.
"He talked about being a risk taker and I'm not really a risk
taker. I'm pretty conservative and laid back, but the big thing is
to just be careful," Roethlisberger said as the Steelers opened
their minicamp. "I'll just continue to be careful. I told him we
don't ever ride alone, we always ride in a group of people, and I
think it makes it even more safe."
Asked why he doesn't wear a helmet -- something he wouldn't think
about doing on a football field -- Roethlisberger pointed out
Pennsylvania's 35-year-old state law requiring helmets to be worn
was amended two years ago.
"Obviously Pennsylvania doesn't think people need to [wear a
helmet]," he said. "There's a law you've got to wear it in
Steelers linebacker Joey Porter was surprised to hear the NFL
offensive rookie of the year is taking such risks so soon after
Winslow's accident. The Browns tight end, drafted five spots ahead
of Roethlisberger last year, was injured Sunday when he flew off a
newly purchased motorcycle after running into a parking lot curb.
"Some guys are real good on motorcycles and know what they're
doing, but accidents happen," Porter said. "I can't knock the guy
for doing it, but it's probably not the wisest thing to do. I don't
own a bike because I don't trust them."
Porter occasionally gets on a Jet Ski, but he said that's
different from steering a motorcycle through heavy traffic.
Roethlisberger acknowledged many drivers become distracted when
they see him riding, shouting or waving at him.
"If I fall off a Jet Ski, I hit the water, and I like my
odds," Porter said. "I'm going to get wet. What I say about
motorcycles is that concrete is undefeated."
Of course, Roethlisberger was, too, as a rookie, going 13-0
during the Steelers' team-record 15-1 regular season before losing
to New England in the AFC championship game.
The Steelers are understandably cautious about combining a
first-round draft choice and a high-speed vehicle. Gabe Rivera, the
defensive lineman they chose instead of quarterback Dan Marino in
the 1983 draft, was paralyzed after wrecking his sports car midway
through his rookie season and hasn't walked since.
Many NFL contracts prohibit engaging in dangerous activities,
but Roethlisberger's deal apparently doesn't specifically ban
Cowher didn't criticize Roethlisberger's riding, but is visibly
uneasy with it.
"I certainly don't condone that," Cowher said. "It [playing
pro football] is a very small time in your life and you've got to
be very careful -- you can see it documented with Kellen Winslow in
Cleveland. There are choices and consequences ... not just in
riding motorcycles, but where you go and who you associate with.
You have control over them but once you make your decision, they