Big Ben: 'You can't get a new brain'

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger was "hurt" by teammate Hines Ward's remarks questioning why a concussion kept him out of an important game against the Baltimore Ravens. But the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback now agrees he shouldn't have played.

Roethlisberger patched up his relationship with Ward during a phone call Monday, and the two have since moved on to Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

"He reached out to me and I told him I was just hurt more than anything else," Roethlisberger said Thursday. "You know, we got over it, moved past it and now we're preparing."

Ward apologized separately to Roethlisberger and the Steelers (6-5), saying he spoke out of frustration soon after learning the quarterback wouldn't play in the 20-17 overtime loss in Baltimore. Ward didn't know at the time of the interview that a team doctor recommended that Roethlisberger not play due to post-concussion headaches.

Roethlisberger received at least his fourth concussion since 2006 the previous week in Kansas City.

The quarterback said he was "in shock" when coach Mike Tomlin unexpectedly told him the day before the game he wouldn't play. Now that he's had time to consider the reasons for the benching, Roethlisberger said the move made sense.

"[I] respected what they said," Roethlisberger said. "You do have to think about your future and your family. It's not fun, but you can get knee replacement surgery, you can have rotator cuff surgeries, but you can't get a new brain."

Roethlisberger was seriously injured during a June 2006 motorcycle accident in which he received a concussion and numerous other facial injuries, including a broken jaw. He still has five plates in his head resulting from that crash.

"A lot of people forget the accident that I had," Roethlisberger said. "They [the doctors] remembered that. It was life-threatening."

Roethlisberger said he hasn't had a recurrence of the headaches brought on by physical activity that occurred following three practices last week.

"I feel great," he said. "I'm ready to go ... ready to rock and roll."