Roethlisberger signs with Steelers; Cowher, Parcells roughed up

Posted: Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Ben Roethlisberger got the quarterback premium he wanted from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 11th overall pick and third quarterback taken, Roethlisberger signed a six-year contract with the Steelers on Tuesday. The deal includes a signing bonus of $9,009,000, about $1 million more than cornerback Dunta Robinson, the 10th pick, got from Houston.

''We felt that quarterbacks deserve a premium, and the Steelers ultimately agreed,'' said Leigh Steinberg, Roethlisberger's agent.

Roethlisberger is the third of the four quarterbacks chosen in the first round of the draft to agree to terms.

Eli Manning, the first overall pick, got a $20 million signing bonus from the New York Giants. J.P. Losman, taken 22nd overall, signed last weekend with Buffalo, getting a bonus of $5.6 million.

Philip Rivers, taken fourth overall, and tight end Kellen Winslow, the sixth player chosen, remain the highest unsigned draft picks among the five first-rounders not under contract.

Rivers was taken by the Giants then traded to San Diego for Manning, who requested before the draft that the Chargers pass on him. Rivers' agent, Jimmy Sexton, is seeking first-pick money for his client even though he was No. 4 overall.

That figures to be a difficult signing, as does Winslow, whose agent, Kevin Poston, already has turned down a contract similar to the one signed with Washington by safety Sean Taylor, taken fifth overall.

Roethlisberger, who left Miami of Ohio after his junior year, fell to 11th in part because of the Manning-Rivers scenario. At one point before the draft, the Giants appeared to prefer him to Rivers with Manning at the top of their list.

Also Tuesday, Steelers linebacker Joey Porter got his first sack of training camp, leveling coach Bill Cowher. Porter was lined up against running back Duce Staley during a blocking drill, with Cowher standing in as the quarterback. Once Porter shed Staley, he approached Cowher from behind and gave him a shove that accidentally knocked the coach to the ground.

The hit was unintentional.

Asked if it was his first sack, Cowher said, ''It will be my last one, too. I should have saw who I had rushing. I definitely let my guard down.''


Like Cowher, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells took a spill during practice. Tight end Jason Witten ran into him during a passing drill.

Parcells got up smiling and didn't appear to be hurt.

The coach doesn't talk to reporters after the afternoon workout.

''I tried to help him up and he said, 'I'm all right.' So I left it at that,'' Witten said. ''I was scared to death. I'm sorry coach, I'm sorry, let me help you up. That's the first thing out of my mouth.''


Doug Flutie's left knee has no structural damage, and the 41-year-old quarterback expects to practice Wednesday. Flutie has been resting since Sunday, sitting out five practices. He underwent an MRI exam to make sure there is no significant knee injury.

''It's fine,'' he said. ''They're treating me like I'm old.''

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