Courtney Upshaw called for controversial penalty on Ben Roethlisberger hit (Video)

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw was called for a controversial “roughing the passer” penalty on the third play of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ opening possession Thursday night that left many confused and incredulous.

How on earth could the hit have been roughing the passer when Upshaw nailed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the numbers for what should have been a sack? The real issue is that the word choice by the official announcing the penalty doesn’t really reflect the infraction.

Upshaw was penalized for leading with the crown of his helmet, which is a newer rule categorized as an unnecessary roughness violation.

Courtney Upshaw hit penalty

The rule was passed in 2013 and it aims to prevent concussions by discouraging players from using the crown of their helmets when initiating contact.

The hit looked clean, but Upshaw dipping his helmet down when he made contact led to the penalty. Ultimately Baltimore got a turnover on the drive, which could be the game’s way of saying it was a bad call.

Video via GIFD Sports

Ben Roethlisberger says he was upset with Steelers draft at first

Ben RoethlisbergerBen Roethlisberger was hoping the Pittsburgh Steelers would waste no time getting him some help at wide receiver in the draft earlier this month. With Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders having left town, the Steelers have very few reliable options beyond Antonio Smith. Despite that, they decided to draft linebacker Ryan Shazier with the 15th overall pick.

While Roethlisberger seems to be on board now, he admitted on Tuesday that he was hoping the Steelers would not wait until the third and fourth rounds — when they took running back Dri Archer and receiver Martavis Bryant — to draft skill players.

“I got caught up in doing what I always say not to do, and that’s listen to the media,” Roethlisberger said, per Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “(The Steelers) obviously have their agenda, the things they want, and they got two guys that they felt can help this team.”

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted, Wallace, Sanders and Brown were all drafted in the third round or later. The Steelers drafted former Texas star Limas Sweed in the second round back in 2008. Who? Exactly.

Pittsburgh obviously has a specific draft approach that has paid in previous years, so there’s no reason to deviate from it. At age 34 and seeking a new contract, you can understand why Roethlisberger was hoping for a sexier name like Kelvin Benjamin or Brandin Cooks. The Steelers ranked 20th in the NFL last season in total offense, so there is clearly work to be done. That doesn’t necessarily mean waiting to draft a wide receiver was a mistake.

Ben Roethlisberger and wife have second baby

Ben Roethlisberger drink champion

Apparently this is the week for NFL quarterbacks to have children.

Not only did Tony Romo and wife Candice have their second child — a baby boy named Rivers Romo — but Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley had their second child.

Big Ben tweeted on Wednesday that his daughter, Baylee Marie Roethlisberger, was born.

The two also have a son, Benjamin Jr., who was born in Nov. 2012.

Here he is, Ben Roethlisberger, a straight family man with a wife and two kids. Feels like just yesterday that he was being investigated and accused of multiple rapes. And now he has a young daughter. He really has grown up.

Ben Roethlisberger punts, pins Browns on 1-yard line (GIF)

Ben Roethlisberger puntBen Roethlisberger surprised the Cleveland Browns with a perfectly-placed pooch punt on Sunday during the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 27-11 win.

The Steelers had a 4th-and-18 situation just inside the Cleveland 30. Instead of attempting a long field goal in poor conditions, they lined up as if they were going to go for it. The Browns sat back in a dime package and did not expect Big Ben to punt, but he pooched one perfectly that the Steelers downed at the one.

Kissing Suzy Kolber says Roethlisberger has punted before, and they say the first time was back in a 2008 playoff game. Who knew he kicked with his left foot?

Ben Roethlisberger: I would retire before accepting a trade

ben-roethlisbergerBen Roethlisberger gave about as firm of a denial regarding a trade rumor as possible.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was confronted by the media after Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills about the report that he would ask the team for a trade after the season. Roethlisberger ripped the report and called it B.S. He apologized to the team’s owners for the report and assured them it was completely false. He also offered this quote, which really shows how strongly he feels.

“I’d retire before I’d accept a trade,” Roethlisberger said Sunday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I mean, it would have to be something really, really unbelievable for me to even consider it. I have talked to my wife about that. I don’t want to be anywhere else. This is where we want to be.”

As I said before, I believe Roethlisberger is frustrated with the offense and direction of the team. He probably doesn’t like offensive coordinator Todd Haley and was upset they let Mike Wallace go. But I can’t see him asking for a trade or wanting out. I bet he just wants changes around him.

Ben Roethlisberger rips trade report, calls it BS

Ben RoethlisbergerBen Roethlisberger addressed a report that said he would ask the Pittsburgh Steelers for a trade in the offseason, calling it B.S. and “totally false.”

Following his team’s 23-10 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Roethlisberger was asked about NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport report that he was unhappy with the Steelers’ offense and that we should expect him to ask the team for a trade in the offseason. The report was a bold claim as Roethlisberger has been the Steelers’ franchise quarterback since 2004 and never expressed an interest in leaving the team.

Though Roethlisberger admitted he’s unhappy with the offense when it doesn’t produce — a natural reaction — he says the thought that he would want a trade is “totally false.”

“When it comes to wanting to go somewhere else or anything like that, that’s completely unacceptable. I don’t know where that came from. It’s one of the most B.S. stories I’ve ever heard of. I’ve always said I want to be a Steeler for life,” Roethlisberger said.

“I love it here, I’m happy here and I don’t want to go anywhere. No one in my family, in our camp, agents have ever said anything about this. So wherever this was made up from is totally false.”

Roethlisberger reacted in disgust when he heard the reporter’s question and initially laughed off the suggestion that he wanted out of Pittsburgh before answering with a stern face. Then he doubled down on his comments.

“I don’t want to go anywhere, I love it here. This is family, this is where I want to be and where I’ve always wanted to be. I don’t want to play for anyone else. I want to finish my career here.”

It’s understandable why this report would be upsetting to him. If he does want out, he’d want that to be kept a secret. And if the report is false as he says, of course he’d be mad because it makes him look bad and creates the perception he doesn’t want to be in Pittsburgh.

I feel like Roethlisberger probably isn’t happy with the situation in Pittsburgh, but I don’t think that means he wants out. It seems like they would keep Big Ben and change things around him — such as the players, coaches and system — before getting rid of him. If anything, Roethlisberger might use a trade threat as a power play to get his way, but I don’t really think he would want out.

Helmet smack to Eye on Football

Steelers: We have not explored trading Ben Roethlisberger

Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II issued a statement on Sunday in response to a report saying the team expects quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to ask for a trade.

“Contrary to erroneous reports, the Pittsburgh Steelers have not explored trading quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and have no plans to do so,” Rooney said in a statement.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that Roethlisberger is “incredibly frustrated” with the Steelers’ offense. He’s reportedly discouraged with the entire offense, including offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

The Steelers reportedly fielded calls on Roethlisberger last offseason and expect the same thing to happen this offseason, but they have no plans to trade him unless they can get another franchise QB to replace him. They might ask him to restructure his contract, however, because he has a high cap number next year.

Nobody can see the Steelers getting rid of Big Ben at quarterback, so the more likely solution is for the team to change offensive coaches in an effort to make him happier. The Steelers entered Sunday’s game 2-6. They rank No. 25 in the NFL with 19.5 points per game.