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Ben Roethlisberger spells cardio S-U-P-E-R B-O-W-L

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger can charge his gym fees to the championship account. The noticeably slimmer Steelers quarterback said he’s done “a lot of cardio” in recent months, and his logic is simple.

“You want to be the best you can be. You want to win Super Bowls,” Roethlisberger said. “Felt it was the right thing to do at the right time.”

Roethlisberger’s agent, Ryan Tollner, told ESPN in April that the 34-year-old lost about 15 pounds in an effort to reduce his chances of sustaining injuries. Roethlisberger was a collection of pains in 2015. He missed four games with a knee injury. He also played through separate shoulder and foot injuries and spent a few days in the concussion protocol after a hit from Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett.

Roethlisberger is playing prime football, leading the Steelers to 6,300-plus yards of total offense last year despite injuries to several key players.

Roethlisberger’s next challenge: Preparing the offense without Martavis Bryant (suspended) and tight end Heath Miller (retired).

Roethlisberger said Bryant’s loss "hurts" because he was growing as a player and the two had gotten close.

Roethlisberger needs younger playmakers, such as Sammie Coates, to pick up some of the slack.

“All of us need to now,” Roethlisberger said. “We’ve had a lot of guys that carry a lot on their shoulders anyway, but we’ll all need to step up.”