Football

Roethlisberger defends night out with linemen

The first question posed to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during Thursday's media session had nothing to do with his on-field preparation for Sunday's Super Bowl, but rather his time spent away from the field Tuesday evening.

Roethlisberger, who served a four-game suspension to start the season for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy, treated his linemen to some barbecue and was later spotted at a piano bar, where TMZ showed Internet footage of him singing Billy Joel's Piano Man.

TMZ said Roethlisberger spent around $1,000 at the bar -- $800 tab and $200 tip -- and was "nice, fun and took care of everyone."

Roethlisberger said it was a Super Bowl superstition and tradition to take his linemen out to dinner, and downplayed the importance of it all.

"We went out to dinner, went to a great barbecue spot, which they wanted to do," he said. "Then we wanted to listen to some live music, went to a piano bar and had an enjoyable night.

"Even a superstition, a tradition like going to dinner and listening to some live music, wants to turn into a bad story, but it really isn't a bad story."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin agreed.

"I'm not concerned about that one iota," Tomlin said.

"It's normal for guys to eat dinner, believe it or not. I understand that some things may be reported or viewed differently, but that's not our concern. Believe it or not, guys live lives."

Roethlisberger said he was home before the team's 1 a.m. curfew, contrary to TMZ reporting that he "sang his face off from 11 p.m. to 1:15 a.m."

"I'd heard the crack TMZ staff that they are, they know their facts that I was out past 1 a.m.," he said. "But really we were home way before curfew."

Fine tuning

The Steelers were sharp while working mostly on nickel and red-zone offensive and defensive situations for exactly two hours in the Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility on the TCU campus.

For the second consecutive day, defensive end Aaron Smith, idle since Oct. 24 with a torn triceps, was limited in practice and didn't play in any scrimmage work.

Center Maurkice Pouncey (high ankle sprain) was inside the TCU training room receiving treatment on his right ankle.

TCU football coach Gary Patterson was in attendance, with a couple of his assistants and a few players from his Rose Bowl championship team.

The Steelers will have curfew each of the last three nights leading up to the game, Mike Tomlin said.

Following its Saturday workout, the team will relocate from its downtown Fort Worth hotel -- to a secret hotel, as is customary for most teams the night before the Super Bowl.

Tomlin did the same thing the night before the Steelers beat Arizona two years ago in the Super Bowl.

Super Brawl

An order of 40 tickets for the Steelers was confirmed Thursday for the Super Brawl boxing matches tonight at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Former world champion and The Contender winner Sergio Mora will fight in the main event against Fort Worth's Bryan Vera.

Staff writer Tobias Lopez

contributed to this report.

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