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Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 05/10/2012

Roethlisberger hints that his injured ankle was a target for 49ers


Ben Roethlisberger is sacked by Aldon Smith in the Steelers-49ers game Dec. 19. (Paul Sakuma / AP)

Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t accusing the San Francisco 49ers of any concerted, financially-motivated hits in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game in Candlestick Park last December, but he did bring up the topic of whether his injured ankle was a target in the latest conversation in which a pro football player was asked about bounties.

“Sometimes you get guys — things happen under piles and, you know, the little extra twisting of the ankles and poking, things like that,” Roethlisberger said in an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “But this whole bounty thing — I don't know if I'd sit there and and say, ‘Wow, that guy really tried to end my career.’ Honestly, I don’t know.”

The 49ers were not punished for any illegal hits — either with flags or fines — in the “Monday Night Football” game in which the lights at Candlestick went out. Roethlisberger had a dismal game, throwing three intrceptions, being sacked three times and fumbling twice. In early December, he’d suffered a gruesome ankle injury and was hobbled the rest of the season. Patrick asked Roethlisberger to name the last time he felt a team was targeting one of his injuries.

“Um, wow, that's tough,” Roethlisberger said. “I don't really complain about that stuff, either. But I think when we played San Fran, I felt like there were some things going on, some extra. ... Now obviously I did have the ankle and I was playing, so there was kind of a bull’s-eye on there anyway. But for the most part, guys play tough and you go into a game expecting it. I expect to be tougher than them.”

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