Mehno: Big Ben upset about injury report

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ three-game losing streak is history, but that didn’t put Ben Roethlisberger in a sunny mood on Tuesday.

The quarterback took a few minutes on his day off and used his weekly radio show to complain about a media report that claimed he has cracked ribs.

Roethlisberger missed several series of the game at Oakland two weeks ago with the injury. He returned to that game, and played the entire game in Sunday’s 17-10 victory over New England.

He complained that NFL Network Ian Rapoport got it wrong about him. You may recall that Rapoport previously reported Roethlisberger would ask to be traded after the 2013 season.

The only rib debate I’m qualified to participate in is sauce vs. dry rub. However, a trainer once told me that when an athlete is listed as having “bruised ribs,” it means the bones are really broken.

Who knows? Roethlisberger was able to get through Sunday’s game, admitting the trainers designed some extra padding and medical treatments. It looks like he’ll play with the injury for as long as the Steelers’ season lasts. Bruised or broken, his ribs could be a factor.

In other Steelers matters:

n Jaylen Samuels had a strong game against the Patriots, but it may be too much to expect him to repeat the performance this Sunday in New Orleans. The Saints are one of the best teams at stopping the run, and Samuels is a converted receiver learning to play running back.

n Mike Tomlin is unwavering in his backing of struggling kicker Chris Boswell. What choice does he have? Boswell has succeeded before, and the replacement options aren’t appealing in mid-December. If Tomlin has his hands in his pockets when Boswell kicks, bet that he’s hiding crossed fingers.

n People are still calling talk shows to debate whether Tomlin should be fired if the Steelers miss the playoffs. He’s been here 12 years and he’s never had a losing season. They’re not going to fire him.

n When will Rocky Bleier post his review of Sunday’s game? On wait, that’s right. He’s done with the Steelers.

Frank Durso

If you attended any of Gene Dargan’s pro wrestling cards at Jaffa Mosque back in the day, you probably saw Frank Durso lose the opening match.

Durso was a squatty and shaggy guy who played the bad guy and helped get a lot of shows started by losing to a fan favorite.

Durso (his real last name was Scuillo) died last week at 81.

As a college kid, I wrote press releases for Gene and went to a lot of the shows. I’d offer a cheery hello to Frank Durso, and he would invariably say, “You got any beer?”

I never did, and he would immediately lose interest in talking to me.

It’s been a sad year for fans of the old “Studio Wrestling” show. The legendary Bruno Sammartino passed away in April, Johnny Valiant (originally John L. Sullivan) was killed in an accident a few weeks before that, and now Durso is gone, too.

Shameless plug

If you need a last-minute gift for an avid fan, my book “The Best Pittsburgh Sports Arguments” is available through your favorite online retailer. It may be available at your nearby book store, too, assuming you have one.

It was published in 2007, but most of it has been unaffected by the passage of time. There’s plenty of stuff about the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins (and other offbeat subjects like sports movies and athlete’s celebrity wives) and I typed it all myself.

There are 100 different debates, so a reader can easily jump around. A friend told me he considers it the ultimate bathroom book, and insisted that was a compliment. I’ll take whatever positive reviews I can get.

John Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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