The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Sports

June 13, 2006

MIKE BEAS: Could Big Ben be any dumber?

Indianapolis Colts fans take a lot of grief supporting Peyton Manning, who in the rough-and-tumble NFL is as renegade as a preschool playground.

Manning is Opie Taylor with a playbook, they say when not barking the oh so clever Mr. Rogers comparisons. He’s not tough, owns happy feet, can’t win the big one ... blah, blah, blah!

Yeah, OK, whatever.

At least our quarterback isn’t horizontal on hospital sheets after biting down on an asphalt sandwich that damn near killed him.

Not to come off as unsympathetic, but Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, seriously injured Monday morning when he crashed his motorcycle sans helmet, is getting exactly what he deserved.

Apparently Roethlisberger, 24, was absent the day common sense was passed out. Either that or he received an amount that couldn’t soak a pinhead.

On life’s brilliance scale, starting up and taking off on the fastest motorcycle Suzuki produces, the Hayabusa, without a helmet ranks right up there with instigating a fistfight with Mike Tyson pre-medication.

If not a well-conditioned, 6-5, 240-pound athlete, Roethlisberger probably would be a flat-line special. The Steel City could have retired his No. 7 posthumously as sobbing Pittsburgh diehards used Terrible Towels to dab away the tears.

Such a scenario would have been awful to witness and just awful in general.

Roethlisberger comes off as good guy. Polite. Accomodating. Devoted to family and longtime friends. Not overly full of himself. But nice guys from first-place teams can finish last, and that’s what’s happening to the youngest signal-caller to ever win a Super Bowl.

Aside from a broken jaw — terrific, now he looks just like his coach, Bill Cowher — Roethlisberger busted his nose and suffered multiple face fractures requiring seven hours of surgery.

He remains in serious condition, but all indications are that Roethlisberger sidestepped death’s ugly grasp.

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