“Hundreds gather to share fond memories of Richard Culliver”

August 26th, 2014 by

From Chad Mills, Channel 10-WISTV.com in Lexington, South Carolina:

RichardCulliver_GameBallDozens if not hundreds of people arrived at Lexington Town Hall on Monday night sharing smiles and tears as they remembered 9-year-old Richard Culliver.

There, every person had a story to tell or a memory to share about Richard.

“Richard has a fan base like no other,” Jada Collins said. “Bigger than Justin Bieber’s.”

Culliver was considered the “class jokester” of Michelle Webster’s second grade class at Lexington Elementary. Although he was known for making his classmates laugh, Webster will remember Culliver for more than that.

“Being a teacher is about teaching the whole child in their academics but also helping them grow socially,” Webster said, “and he just taught me patience and just to make every day special.”

Culliver touched the lives of many including Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who recorded a video for Culliver before he passed away.

“I just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you,” Roethlisberger said in the video, “and a lot of my teammates wanted me to pass along a note to say they’re thinking about you as well.”

Earlier this month, Culliver’s mother said doctors found another tumor. On Sunday morning, his mother shared the sad news of her son’s passing on Facebook.


You can read more here.



Richard had quite a following of fans right here! He was featured several times, and even received a game ball from one of his favorite players (photo above). He was also our special Warrior for a Warrior Wednesday post last year.

“Mommy, I’m gonna cry. I’m famous! Do I need a Twitter account now?”– Richard Culliver to his mom Stephanie, after seeing his first Shout Out on the website in October, 2012.



He was always a big hit with his Steeler Nation family and received many prayers! Richard, we will miss you!! Rest in Peace.


Ben looking ahead to first regular season game

August 25th, 2014 by

“For me, it’s about getting some good work in this week. I don’t think I’m going to play (Thursday night against the Panthers). I haven’t played in the last few ‘last’ preseason games, so I don’t plan on playing. I’ll get some work in this week at practice just working on some things we haven’t had a chance to touch on yet this preseason.” – Ben



From Mike Prisutta, Steelers.com today:

082514Even though the preseason finale is Thursday, Ben Roethlisberger has turned his attention to Cleveland

Ben Roethlisberger has an agenda this week that has little to do with Carolina and the Steelers’ upcoming preseason finale.

“Start watching Browns stuff,” Roethlisberger revealed regarding one of the top items on his current to-do list.

The Browns will be at Heinz Field to open the regular season on Sept. 7.

There’s still some preseason business with which to attend before then, but none that figures to get in the way of Roethlisberger’s ratcheted-up levels of regular-season anticipation and regular-season preparation.

Such an approach has become somewhat standard for Roethlisberger and quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner in recent preseasons. It reminds Roethlisberger that the regular season is right around the corner.

“Usually, Randy and I will start looking at the first (regular-season) opponent during this (preseason) week,” Roethlisberger said. “I was still up there in the meetings for the Carolina stuff. I do the Browns stuff during down time, during breaks and things like that. Or, once he lets the other quarterbacks come get ready for walk-through I kind of stay up there for an extra 15, 20 minutes and watch.

“It gets exciting.”


You can read more from Ben’s interview here and watch the video here.


August Fan Photos are here!

August 24th, 2014 by

And it looks like Steeler Nation dads are the ones making a strong family statement with the start of the season just around the corner!


And we’re going to start off with Super Steelers Dad Matt August, a police motor sergeant from Irvine, California:

MattAugust
My name is Matt August and I am a police sergeant in California. I was born a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in 1972 and have carried that love for the team through highs and lows. I am now raising my own family and they have also embraced my love for Steelers football. I am a huge Ben Roethlisberger fan and have several of his jersey’s, and am hoping I will be able to get one of his new Nike jerseys this year so that I can hang up my old Reebok jerseys. As you can see from our photo, we are a large family so making sure my entire family had jerseys has always been a priority for me rather than updating my own.

One of the things I admire and respect the most is his leadership of the team and his devotion to his family. I am also very appreciative of the many grants he provides to police departments to help fund police K9′s. These dogs are a tremendous resource and asset but can be cost prohibitive for so many agencies so his awareness and commitment to helping agencies is truly awesome. – Matt

Photo, left to right: Matt’s wife Traci, Kynnleigh (age 3), Makhenna (age 9), Hayden (age 7), Matthew (age 17), Jaelynn (age 6), Aubreigh (age 1) and Matt.



Dominic
Domenic Costello and his son Hayden, age 3, proudly displaying their favorite player’s jersey while vacationing in Ocean City, MD aka Raven Country.



BobTsch
Proud new Steelers papa Bob Tschappat, Jr. named his son Benjamin Phillip Tschappat, and yes, that first name is for papa’s favorite player! Congratulations to Bob and Missy!



Pellegrino_Cooper

And from our Twitter dads:

Justin Pellegrino ‏@justgrino
U know his first jersey had to be a @_BigBen7 So he can match his daddy. We are def ready. #Steelers

Brian Cooper @CoopsGolf
Ashton has steelers blood running through his veins. @steelers @_BigBen7



We have more great photos to share from Steeler Nation this month all right here (2 pages)!


WR’s, RB’s, TE’s and…P&W’s

August 19th, 2014 by

(that would be Pizza & Wings!)


“Wheaton: ‘Every week is huge’”

From Teresa Varley, Steelers.com:

aug202014_1Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likes what he is seeing from Wheaton who right now is the team’s starter opposite Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown.

“He’s learning and growing fast. And we need him to,” said Roethlisberger. “That’s what is great, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. He is busting his butt every day in practice.

“I grabbed him upstairs and talked to him about something that he did a little wrong in the game. He had nothing to do with the play but he was heartbroken that he screwed something up that he probably shouldn’t have. He puts in that work. He’s watched Antonio and knows what it takes to be a pro.”

Last year wasn’t what Wheaton had hoped from his rookie season, hampered by finger injuries that required surgery. While he played in 12 games, he finished with just six receptions for 64 yards and no touchdowns. But the potential was there, and after a strong offseason was slated as a starter during training camp.

“As of now I am in the position, so it’s my spot to lose,” said Wheaton. “I want to improve on everything so I want to make sure I am capable of holding down the position, that they have full confidence in me when we get out on the field. I still have a week or so to do that.

“I think I have a long ways to go, especially after watching the film I think I have a long ways to go. I made a good play in the game; Ben made it easy for me. I feel like I need to improve on everything. I want to be a good all-around player. I want to improve on everything out there.”


You can read more here.



“Big Ben challenges rookie wideout”

From Scott Brown, ESPN.com:

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned a question about Martavis Bryant into a challenge for the rookie wide receiver.

“He needs to get in his mind that he can help us and that he’s going to push it hard on every single play like the guys ahead of him are doing,” Roethlisberger said. “If you watch Antonio Brown, he scores on that second play [against the Buffalo Bills last Saturday] because that’s how he practices. Every day in practice when he catches a slant he’s going to score even if guys touch him down.

“That’s how he practices and that’s how he plays and that’s what transitions into big things like that. As a young guy [Bryant] needs to keep learning from the veteran guys, and I think he will do that because he wants to be a great receiver.”

Bryant has all of the physical ability to succeed at this level, and the fourth-round draft pick could give the Steelers’ offense something it has rarely had with Roethlisberger at the controls of it: a tall wideout who can really run.

“What [Bryant] can bring is kind of what Plax did, a big body down the field, guys have to respect that speed,” Roethlisberger said. “I think if he can get to Plax’s level we’ll be happy with that.”

Roethlisberger said Bryant is nowhere close to that yet, which is why he is pushing the Clemson product and not coddling him.

When asked if he would like to get some work with Bryant Thursday night when the Steelers play the Philadelphia Eagles, Roethlisberger said, “He’s got to earn his way up into the first group. We’ve got guys right now ahead of him on the depth chart that are playing at a high level. So he’s really going to have to bust his butt. If he can prove that he deserves to be there then we’ll give him all the reps he wants.”


You can read more here.



“Big Ben making no-huddle a tasty test”

From Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

aug202014To make sure his new receivers as well as his new running backs and tight ends were up to speed with the no-huddle offense, Roethlisberger created a training camp quiz this summer to test their knowledge. Next week, the top three “losers” must buy pizza and wings for the entire offense.

“I bring the running backs, receivers and tight ends in, and we give them hand signals,” Roethlisberger said. “They have to write down what the play is called and what route they have.”

Roethlisberger would not say who might be buying dinner. He said five players are vying to stay out of the top three. It’s his way of keeping camp interesting while making sure the new guys know the no-huddle’s signals.

“I feel comfortable doing that because I know we’re going to do [the no-huddle] this year and I want guys to be up to speed on it,” he said.

The Steelers will play their third preseason game Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Roethlisberger expects to play the first half and would like at least one series of no-huddle.

“I’d like to get a little more road work, see if we can do no-huddle on the road, which is usually a little different,” he said. “Whether we do or don’t, I don’t know. That’s the good part about getting at least one series of no-huddle on the road, because the communication is a little tougher.”


You can read more here.

You can also watch video of Ben’s interview here.


Best way to spend a Saturday night!

August 18th, 2014 by

Fans emailed and tweeted their photos from the Bills vs Steelers game at Heinz Field to share with us:

ws
Left to Right:

Mardee DeSantis @MardeeDeSantis
@_BigBen7 @steelers My boy is so excited to be at the game with his daddy! #gosteelers #goben #cpcantstophim

Jennifer Schropp @JaiLynnPhoto
@_BigBen7 with the North Allegheny & Bethel Park kids at last nights game! Such an honor to photograph the night.

“My grandson Christian made it to his first Steeler game vs. Bills.” – Tom Melnik, Bulter, PA


You can see the full-size images here.



Dr. Ronald Cypher shared his collection of pre-game shots as well:

ws1
That last one could sure use a caption! Any takers?


You can see all of his great photos here!



A special SHOUT OUT to a BIG Ben & Steelers fan…

Long-time followers of Ben’s site are familiar with Richard Culliver! He has graced our pages more than a few times over the last couple of years, and has received so many well wishes and prayers from you!

Well, he and his family could certainly use as many prayers as you can send, Steeler Nation!

“Life is so hard and so unfair. My sweet boy is soon to be completely healed. He as a new tumor lower in his brainstem and it’s taking him very quickly. My sweet wonderful beautiful boy is soon to be an angel watching over Rheagan Devin and I.” – Richard’s mother, Stephanie.


Please take a moment and visit him on Facebook at Richard’s Journey.


“Steelers starters crisp in 19-16 win over Bills”

August 17th, 2014 by

From Will Graves, Associated Press:

081614_Bills_Preseason_1Ben Roethlisberger needed all of two series to reach the end zone twice on Saturday night.

At the rate EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills are going it might take a month to reach that total.

Maybe longer if they don’t have dynamic rookie receiver Sammy Watkins.

The latest rebuilding process remains a work in progress in Buffalo. The Pittsburgh Steelers offered a glimpse that theirs might already be done.

Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 76-yard score on Pittsburgh’s second play from scrimmage and found Markus Wheaton for a 16-yard score as the Steelers edged the Bills 19-16 for their first preseason win in nearly two years.

“I think we came out and started fast,” Brown said. “We got some things going in a positive direction.”

Working almost exclusively out of the no-huddle, Roethlisberger finished 8 of 11 for 128 yards and the two scores. Shaun Suisham’s 20-yard field goal as time expired ended Pittsburgh’s five-game losing streak in exhibitions.

“The communication was what I wanted to work on and we didn’t have any mental errors of what I saw so far,” Roethlisberger said.


Bob Labriola @BobLabriola
Ben’s stats: 8-for-11, 128 yards; 2 TDs, 0 INTs, Rating of 150.8



Roethlisberger, working with an offense he insists can be one of the more potent in the league, hit Brown in stride on Pittsburgh’s second play from scrimmage and the Pro Bowl receiver ran away from a pair of defenders on his way to the end zone.

“It was a great read by Ben,” Brown said. “The defensive back got caught up with another guy. Ben hit me in the spot and I was able to get up to speed and turn the corner.”

The Steelers got the ball back moments later when Shazier — who missed the preseason opener with a right knee injury coach Mike Tomlin called a “boo boo” — showcased why Pittsburgh took him with the 15th pick in the first round.

Shazier stepped in front of Manuel’s pass intended for Scott Chandler and returned it 27 yards to the Buffalo 37.

The play highlighted a frantic half of play for Shazier, who finished with 11 total tackles in addition to his pick.


You can read more from from Mr. Graves here.

You can see a few more photos here.



Just in case you missed the game…

NFL Network will air the replay at 12 noon ET today!


Benjamin, Jr. checking in with Steeler Nation

August 15th, 2014 by

Hi everybody! Hope you’re enjoying your summer.

I’ve been kinda busy myself! Dad told me to take care of mommy and Baylee while he was at training camp, and that’s just what I’ve been doing!

I’ve been keeping my toys picked up (mostly), taking my naps without complaint (pretty much), and I’m trying really hard not to run like a crazy man in the house. I’m also giving mommy lots of hugs.

August2014
And sometimes I even give my baby sister her morning bottle and a little kiss on the forehead…

Uh, mommy? Do I have to wait til’ she finishes the whole thing?

Dad, I hope you’re coming home soon!! I can’t keep this up anymore! This “man of the house” stuff is a lot of work!!!”



You can see more of our family photos here!


Training Camp: News, Notes & Quotes

August 14th, 2014 by

“EJ Manuel pays close attention to Ben Roethlisberger”

From Matthew Fairburn at the Syracuse Post-Standard:

081414The Buffalo Bills have a vision for what they want to be.

They want to be a tough, physical football team that depends on their defense and running game to win. They want to give their young quarterback — who has a big arm, can move his feet and is a handful to bring down — a chance to succeed by surrounding him with talent. Most of all, they want to get back to the playoffs and snap a 14-year drought.

In other words, they want to replicate what the Pittsburgh Steelers did early in Ben Roethlisberger’s career.

Yes, a Super Bowl is a lofty target for the Bills, who have gone 6-10 in each of the last three seasons, but general manager Doug Whaley spent time in the Steelers organization and wants a few things to rub off on his current team.

“Their toughness and their idea that nothing less is expected than a championship,” Whaley said. “That’s what we’re trying to get to.”

Whaley has a particular vision for his second-year quarterback, EJ Manuel. He thinks he can be the Bills’ version of Roethlisberger — a big, strong-armed quarterback with some mobility. So Manuel was paying extra attention to the Steelers’ quarterback on Wednesday to see how he prepares and how he handles himself.

“It’s huge,” Manuel said of practicing with Roethlisberger. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Big Ben. Growing up in Virginia, it’s not too far from Pittsburgh, and obviously early in his career he took those guys to a Super Bowl, so like I said earlier, to get an opportunity to come out and practice with him is awesome.”


You can read more from Mr. Fairburn here.



“Ben Roethlisberger relishes teaching role”

From Scott Brown, ESPN.com:

081414_1The most hands-on training camp of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s career ends Friday when the Pittsburgh Steelers break camp after spending the last three weeks at St. Vincent College.

That doesn’t mean that Roethlisberger will stop going over painstaking details with his wide receivers or surrender his duties as a de facto coach when the Steelers start practicing at team headquarters next week.

“It’s been fun it’s something that I need to do and want to do.” Roethlisberger said Thursday after the first of two joint practices with the Buffalo Bills. “The coach can tell them what they’re supposed to do but if I tell them what I want them to do it’s a big difference. It’s been a good [camp] in that sense.”

Roethlisberger said he’s never coached the wide receivers as much as he has this camp, and it makes sense that he has assumed even more of a leadership role. Roethlisberger is entering his 11th season and has never had more ownership of the Steelers’ offense. He is also working with a wide receivers unit that is generally young.

Just as Roethlisberger has high hopes for that group, he is also pleased with how the offensive line has come together in camp.

“They have just such a cohesiveness as a unit,” Roethlisberger said, “and it’s something special.”


You can read more from Mr. Brown here.


You can see more photos from training camp here.

And check out the photos from the Steelers Home Run Derby here!


#ALSIceBucketChallenge

August 13th, 2014 by

Arizona Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians challenged Big Ben to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge yesterday…


ALSChallenge
and not only did Ben accept the challenge today, he did a little a competitive challenging of his own:

BA, I accept your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! I challenge Merril Hoge, Triple H, and Kevin Hart! – Ben



You can check out video of Ben’s challenge here!

And you can learn more about the #ALSIceBucketChallenge here!


Starkey: Roethlisberger rooting for ‘bud’ Jim Kelly

August 13th, 2014 by

“I just feel blessed to call him a friend.” – Ben of Jim Kelly.



From Joe Starkey, at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

BenJimThe Steelers and Buffalo Bills are sharing practice fields this week in Latrobe. But for franchises separated by just 220 miles, they have shared precious little meaningful history.

But the cities’ most meaningful football connection might be one that binds a pair of iconic and similarly rugged quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger and Jim Kelly.

Their connection, at least from Roethlisberger’s end, goes back more than 20 years. It has taken on new meaning of late, given the personal transformations of each and Kelly’s harrowing but inspiring bout with cancer.

The relationship began in the form of a young Roethlisberger, 22 years Kelly’s junior, taping a No. 12 Kelly poster to his bedroom wall in Findlay, Ohio.

“I tease him about that all the time,” Roethlisberger says.

Fast forward to Roethlisberger’s first few NFL seasons, when his linebacker-like approach and laser-like precision late in games evoked images of Kelly in the Bills’ famed “K-Gun” 15 years earlier. Have there been any star quarterbacks in the past quarter-century who endured more punishment — invited more punishment — than these two?

They finally connected in person early in Roethlisberger’s career at Kelly’s golf tournament in Buffalo. Roethlisberger traveled early and stayed at Kelly’s house. They bonded immediately. Roethlisberger soon was making annual treks to Kelly’s lodge in Ellicottville, N.Y., where the two would hunt, fish, ride snowmobiles and talk shop.

“For a Hall of Famer to come down to my level, if you will, just meant so much,” Roethlisberger says. “He’s a guy I can call when things aren’t going well. I’ll get notes from him after games, good and bad: ‘Keep your head up.’ ‘Great job.’ To have someone like that I can call a friend? That’s first and foremost. And I think he’d say the same thing: He looks at me as a friend.”

BenDanJimThe Kelly family (Jim, wife Jill, daughters Erin, 19, and Camryn, 15, plus a large extended clan) gifted the world by publicizing Jim’s battle. An image of Erin clutching her father’s arm in his hospital bed went viral. It and other photographs, articles and television pieces speak to the suffering, devotion and cruel tests of faith families experience in such times, when the blessings and curses often roll into one.

“I can only imagine what Jim and his family are going through,” Roethlisberger says. “I’ve stayed in touch through phone messages and calls. The last time we talked was after the Hall of Fame ceremony. I shot him a note and said, ‘I know it wasn’t easy for you to be up there, but you looked good, bud.’ It’s tough to see such a tough, strong guy go through that.

“I know the family, and it’s emotional to see them do these pieces. But that’s who they are,” Roethlisberger says. “Their faith is so important to them, and I think the girls and Mrs. Kelly will tell you that they kind of got Jim on the right path. It’s changed his life. He’ll tell you that.”


You can read the rest here.



If you missed Ben on ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show this morning…

“For me it’s about being cerebral. Early on it’s about first read. If it’s not there, find your second read and then just start making something happen and run around, whatever it is. Now I think it’s understanding more of offenses and defenses, what play goes against what defense and being able to look into your third and fourth reads.” – Ben, on the difference between his rookie days and now.


He was also asked his thoughts about on-field fighting between teammates during training camp; if he thinks the shorter practices (no 2-a-days) affects the performance of rookies; his advice to rookie quarterbacks; his comfort with the return of center Maurkice Pouncey and more.


You can listen to the entire interview here (bottom of page).


MAGAZINE/BOOK ALERT!

WHAT: Nothing at this time
WHEN:
WHERE:

EVENTS/APPEARANCES!

WHAT: The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation Fundraiser
WHEN: Sunday, June 22, 2014
WHERE: Jergel’s Rhythm Grille, Warrendale, PA
TICKETS: Get them in advance here.

EVENTS/APPEARANCES!

WHAT: The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation Invitational
WHEN: Monday, June 23, 2014
WHERE: Treesdale Golf and Country Club, Gibsonia, PA
TICKETS: Get them in advance to play in the tournament (foursomes only) here.

 


2014 STEELERS SCHEDULE

 

8/9 Pre-Season – NYG Loss: 20-16
8/16 Pre-Season – Buffalo Win: 19-16
8/21 Pre-Season – @ Philadelphia Loss: 31-21
8/29 Pre-Season – Carolina 7:30PM KDKA
9/7 Cleveland 1:00PM
9/11 @ Baltimore 8:25PM
9/21 @ Carolina 8:30PM
9/28 Tampa Bay 1:00PM
10/5 @ Jacksonville 1:00PM
10/12 @ Cleveland 1:00PM
10/20 Houston 8:30PM
10/26 Indianapolis 4:25PM
11/2 Baltimore 8:30PM
11/9 @ New York Jets 1:00PM
11/17 @ Tennessee 8:30PM
11/24 BYE N/A
11/30 New Orleans 1:00PM
12/7 @ Cincinnati 1:00PM
12/14 @ Atlanta 1:00PM
12/21 Kansas City 1:00PM
12/28 Cincinnati 1:00PM