Bill Belichick, Ben Roethlisberger exchange lighthearted banter

It's a good thing coach Bill Belichick and QB Ben Roethlisberger are laughing prior to their Week 1 game. USA TODAY Sports, AP Photo

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Nothing like some good, playful and lighthearted banter between New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to add some levity leading into Thursday's NFL opener between the teams.

It started Saturday when Belichick was asked about the challenge of tackling Roethlisberger, who is listed at 241 pounds.

"Yeah, he was probably that in the eighth grade," Belichick cracked. "He's all of 241, trust me."

Belichick went on to compliment Roethlisberger, pointing out his impressive passing statistics against the Patriots in recent years, and how he has a knack for making plays even as defenders are hanging on him.

When Roethlisberger was informed of Belichick's weight-based remarks in a Sunday conference call, he seemed flattered ... kind of.

"I guess I should take that as a compliment from coach Belichick. Not being around him all that much to know whether it is his humor or him being serious, but I guess that's a compliment coming from him," he said. "Any time you can get, even if it’s a legit compliment or backhanded compliment, whatever you can get from coach Belichick, you have to take it."

Roethlisberger then relayed, when asked, that he graduated high school at 185 pounds. He also called Belichick a "genius" and complimented the Patriots' defensive line for having a group that never turns off its collective motor.

When those remarks about the Patriots were relayed to Belichick on Monday, he smiled.

"That sounds like Ben buttering us up pretty good," Belichick said, clearly having fun with the exchange. "Half these guys have never played against him."