Rams React to Roethlisberger's accident
June 13, 2006, 2:00 PM CT


By Duane Lewis
Stlouisrams.com


Shockwaves went through the NFL when it was reported that Pittsburgh Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger was injured during a motorcycle accident on Monday morning in Pittsburgh. According to reports, Roethlisberger underwent seven hours of surgery to repair multiple facial fractures, and was in serious but stable condition. He was not wearing a helmet.

Rams' players reacted to the news with surprise as well as concern for the third-year Pittsburgh quarterback.

"I was in shock," said Rams' running back Steven Jackson, himself a member of the 2004 NFL Draft class and a friend of Roethlisberger’s. "I haven't talked to him in a while. It's unfortunate. I knew he had a bike and liked to ride. They say if you ride a motorcycle, you have a chance of falling at least once. I hate for it to happen to him, especially with the year he had."

In 2005, Roethlisberger became the youngest starting quarterback to lead a team to a championship, when he led Pittsburgh to a 21-10 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.

Fellow quarterback, Rams' signal caller and Pittsburgh native Marc Bulger, was surprised when informed of the accident.

"I was with him three or four weeks ago at my golf tournament," Bulger said. "Living in Pittsburgh, I know he rides without a helmet. I know it was a big deal last year and it was kind of almost a joke. It's definitely not anymore."

Rams safety Corey Chavous, who father was in a motorcycle accident in the past, expressed concerned as well.

'I was just hoping that he was all right," Chavous said. "He's certainly one of the better young quarterbacks for our league. I hate to see that happen. My dad had a motorcycle accident and he almost died. I know my dad had his helmet on and he still almost died. I'm just thankful for Ben and his family that he is still alive."

Pennsylvania state law does not require helmets to be worn while operating motorcycles.

"I don't know why the law got switched," Bulger said. "It used to be the law. There will be plenty time for us to talk about whether he should have or shouldn't have (worn a helmet). I'm sure he's going to wear it now. We need to get him healthy now."

Players supported Roethlisberger's decision to ride motorcycles and to not wear a helmet, saying it was his choice.

"I don't think you can blame Roethlisberger because he likes to ride his bike," Chavous said. "I like to hunt, and hunting accidents occur. Who can forget what happened close to home in Washington, D.C. (referring to a hunting accident involving Vice President Dick Chaney).

"When I'm out hunting quail and dove, I could get shot. That's just as much of a risk when I'm hunting as it is for someone getting on a motorcycle. I don't think you can blame him. You just have to be happy that fortunately, he's safe," Chavous said.

"I think safety comes first," Jackson said. "(However), he wasn't in the wrong in doing what he was doing. He was enjoying his offseason. When things happen like this, this is when you receive backlash. If anyone knows, he does. He's been in the limelight his first two years (in the league). I don't think we need to ridicule him. We just need to hope and pray that he gets better."