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http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2054749

PITTSBURGH -- Despite Kellen Winslow Jr.'s accident and his own coach's admonition, Big Ben isn't hopping off his big bike just yet.

Ben Roethlisberger was lectured Friday by Steelers coach Bill Cowher on the dangers of riding a motorcycle without a helmet -- as Roethlisberger has been spotted doing recently -- but the quarterback isn't ready to get off his $20,000 cycle.

"He talked about being a risk taker and I'm not really a risk taker. I'm pretty conservative and laid back, but the big thing is to just be careful," Roethlisberger said as the Steelers opened their minicamp. "I'll just continue to be careful. I told him we don't ever ride alone, we always ride in a group of people, and I think it makes it even more safe."

Asked why he doesn't wear a helmet -- something he wouldn't think about doing on a football field -- Roethlisberger pointed out Pennsylvania's 35-year-old state law requiring helmets to be worn was amended two years ago.

"Obviously Pennsylvania doesn't think people need to [wear a helmet]," he said. "There's a law you've got to wear it in football."

Steelers linebacker Joey Porter was surprised to hear the NFL offensive rookie of the year is taking such risks so soon after Winslow's accident. The Browns tight end, drafted five spots ahead of Roethlisberger last year, was injured Sunday when he flew off a newly purchased motorcycle after running into a parking lot curb.

"Some guys are real good on motorcycles and know what they're doing, but accidents happen," Porter said. "I can't knock the guy for doing it, but it's probably not the wisest thing to do. I don't own a bike because I don't trust them."

Porter occasionally gets on a Jet Ski, but he said that's different from steering a motorcycle through heavy traffic. Roethlisberger acknowledged many drivers become distracted when they see him riding, shouting or waving at him.

"If I fall off a Jet Ski, I hit the water, and I like my odds," Porter said. "I'm going to get wet. What I say about motorcycles is that concrete is undefeated."

Of course, Roethlisberger was, too, as a rookie, going 13-0 during the Steelers' team-record 15-1 regular season before losing to New England in the AFC championship game.

The Steelers are understandably cautious about combining a first-round draft choice and a high-speed vehicle. Gabe Rivera, the defensive lineman they chose instead of quarterback Dan Marino in the 1983 draft, was paralyzed after wrecking his sports car midway through his rookie season and hasn't walked since.

Many NFL contracts prohibit engaging in dangerous activities, but Roethlisberger's deal apparently doesn't specifically ban motorcycle riding.

Cowher didn't criticize Roethlisberger's riding, but is visibly uneasy with it.

"I certainly don't condone that," Cowher said. "It [playing pro football] is a very small time in your life and you've got to be very careful -- you can see it documented with Kellen Winslow in Cleveland. There are choices and consequences ... not just in riding motorcycles, but where you go and who you associate with. You have control over them but once you make your decision, they control you."

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Many people that ride have this attitude.

I have enough friends that have had injuries riding motorcycles to know that a helmet should at least be worn.

Asked why he doesn't wear a helmet -- something he wouldn't think about doing on a football field -- Roethlisberger pointed out Pennsylvania's 35-year-old state law requiring helmets to be worn was amended two years ago.

"Obviously Pennsylvania doesn't think people need to [wear a helmet]," he said. "There's a law you've got to wear it in football."

I bunch of states changed their laws regarding wearing a helmet, but that doesn't mean it's smart.

Let's see. Riding a motorcycle on a freeway at 50+ and risking a crash and having my head smashed like a grape, or wearing a helmet and at least giving myself a fighting chance.

Hmmmm....

It's one thing to ride a bike, it's another not to protect your skull.

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What's the big deal? The guy doesn't want to wear a helmet, who cares. When I was riding, I never wore one. The Winslow incident shouldn't worry him in the least. Winslow was learning to ride a motorcycle when he wrecked, from the sounds of it Ben isn't a beginner.

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What's the big deal? The guy doesn't want to wear a helmet, who cares. When I was riding, I never wore one. The Winslow incident shouldn't worry him in the least. Winslow was learning to ride a motorcycle when he wrecked, from the sounds of it Ben isn't a beginner.

look at Jason Williams, he wasnt a beginner on motercycles (from what ive read) and his career is now ****ed

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look at Jason Williams, he wasnt a beginner on motercycles (from what ive read) and his career is now F#cked

What kind of injury did he sustain? Would a helmet have prevented it? If you want to get right down to it, NFL players shouldn't ride motorcycles period but I just simply don't agree with that. A helmet wouldn't have helped Winslow either. They like to ride motorcycles, I'm not going to call them an idiot because of it.

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our very own jamie henderson had a helmet on and still got hurt pretty badly.....ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET..

i ride an ATV and wear a helmet all the time...

i crashed once without a helmet and ill never ride without one again...

and thats on 4 wheels..

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We just had a funeral in these parts for a Passaic county police officer (North Jersey) that went off his bike and had another rider roll over his head, crushing his skull. He'd been wearing a half-helmet. If he'd had full protection there's a good chance he'd have survived. He was an experienced cyclist. He left a wife and two children behind. Granted, Jersey highways are the most densely packed and therefore, most dangerous in the country. But anyone can dump, anywhere. Ben, get a helmet you idiot.

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We just had a funeral in these parts for a Passaic county police officer (North Jersey) that went off his bike and had another rider roll over his head, crushing his skull. He'd been wearing a half-helmet. If he'd had full protection there's a good chance he'd have survived. He was an experienced cyclist. He left a wife and two children behind. Granted, Jersey highways are the most densely packed and therefore, most dangerous in the country. But anyone can dump, anywhere. Ben, get a helmet you idiot.

Damn I didn't hear about that. This is terrible.

You are not a Passaic Cop are you?

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our very own jamie henderson had a helmet on and still got hurt pretty badly.....ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET..

i ride an ATV and wear a helmet all the time...

i crashed once without a helmet and ill never ride without one again...

and thats on 4 wheels..

thats weird, i hardly ever wear an atv without a helmet, although ive been riding forever and have never been in an accident. only time i ever ride with a helmet is when i know im going to be going full throttle and almost tempting myself to crash. the rest of the time its pretty leisurely and i don't see a need to wear one.

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thats weird, i hardly ever wear an atv without a helmet, although ive been riding forever and have never been in an accident. only time i ever ride with a helmet is when i know im going to be going full throttle and almost tempting myself to crash. the rest of the time its pretty leisurely and i don't see a need to wear one.

whats weird about it....i crashed once riding pretty fast so now i wear one....unless im toolin around in the yard ...nothing wierd about it...

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whats weird about it....i crashed once riding pretty fast so now i wear one....unless im toolin around in the yard ...nothing wierd about it...

just that people have such different opinions on it. i don't think its weird that you drive around with a helmet, just that people have such different opinions on it. ive never fallen off in all my years of riding though, so thats probably why. i always wear one when im snowmobiling though, but that keeps me warm as well :)

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My take on it is that it's a Harley, not a crotch rocket. Although it's still unsafe, i'm betting that Ben is mature and responsible enough to handle it. Winslow had a crotch rocket and was hangin' with the star boys fer chrissakes. Personally i'd prefer Ben to ride around in a tank but the man has a right to his Harley. 8)

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Damn I didn't hear about that. This is terrible.

You are not a Passaic Cop are you?

He was in his early forties, out for a ride with a group of his fellow officers when he ditched and went over the handlebars and was hit by one of his riding buddies. There was a big funeral and it was in the Jersey papers. His name was Lees. And though i'm not a Passaic County cop, I've got a lot of friend and family connections to the dept, as well as the Paterson P.D. They all came out in force to show support for the family of their fallen comrade.

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I ride and I wear a helmet. I know a few folks who don't. They know the risks but opt for no helmet. Their choice.

My Dad, who raced up until he was 57, would be dead a few times if not for his helmet, so I am a big proponent, but people are allowed take risks if they so choose.

Winslow, doing tricks in a parking lot after recently having his leg put back together is monumentally dumb given his contract and such, though again, it's his choice.

My understanding is he did have a helmet on.

Big Ben's deal is not about the NFL, because if he goes down - football will be his last concern. He'll likely be dead.

Someone needs to get through to the kid that life is long and he'll be able to ride late into life. Now is not really the time for him.

Kids.

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I ride and I wear a helmet. I know a few folks who don't. They know the risks but opt for no helmet. Their choice.

Meddle/ZEP - good to see you - didn't know you were here :)

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