You can also count on Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless to try to make a mountain out of a molehill on ESPN First Take, and they did just that Friday morning when they asked Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders if he\’s worried about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger having minor surgery on his right knee this past week.
“I\’m not concerned,” said Sanders. “We all know that Ben\’s going to come back. Ben is a tough guy. He\’s probably one of the toughest quarterbacks in the National Football League. This surgery is minor. He\’s been practicing the entire OTA\’s. He\’s been doing really well. It\’s our second year in Todd Haley\’s offense, so we\’re gaining experience, we\’re starting to grow in it, but he just had a little slight discomfort.”
Being as the loudmouth duo couldn\’t get Sanders to bite on that bait, they tried the Father Time angle with the Steelers fourth-year wide receiver as it relates to Roethlisberger\’s age and injury history, but Sanders wasn\’t going to buy that argument either.
“It\’s always a legitimate concern with anyone who\’s getting older, but at the same time we\’re talking about Ben Roethlisberger,” said Sanders. “This guy is one of the toughest guys – you know it. He\’s played through injuries his entire career. Every time the media says he\’s not going to play; he comes, and he proves, and he wins ball games and that\’s what it\’s about. I expect him to be at training camp. I expect him to be the same-old Ben.”
After swinging and missing with the Roethlisberger questions, Sanders was then asked if he\’s worried about the Steelers rebuilt offensive line that is much younger this year.
“We have a young offensive line right now, and we also have a center in Maurkice Pouncey, a three-time Pro Bowler,” said Sanders. “He\’s the leader of that group. He\’s getting those guys right. We have a young group of guys – DeCastro, Mike Adams – I\’m not concerned about them at all.”
So is Sanders worried about anything Steelers related right now? Absolutely not and he wanted to make sure that everyone knew how the offseason has gone so far in his response.
“I\’m an optimistic guy and I\’ll tell you, we had a great OTA – a good offseason,” Sanders said. “We have a mini camp coming up. Guys are making plays. Guys are excited about the season, because we had an 8-8 season last year. That\’s not acceptable, and we know that. So we\’re trying to work extremely hard so that won\’t happen again, and I don\’t think it will.”
Until Roethlisberger takes his first snap in training camp, you can expect that every Steelers player will be asked about their quarterback\’s knee and injury history. Sanders handled the questions great, and I expect that other players will follow suit.
FOX Sports posted an infograophic graphic Thursday on Twitter, which you can see below, that detailed Roethlisberger\’s injuries dating back to 2004, but it should be noted that the Steelers quarterback has only missed 11 games in nine years due to injury. That\’s proof positive that nobody should be worried about Roethlisberger getting his knee cleaned up with well more than a month and a half to go until the team reports to training camp in late July. To reiterate what Sanders said, “We\’re talking about Ben Roethlisberger.”