Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Source: Roethlisberger Crash Part of Bengals' Conspiracy

On Monday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered numerous injuries in a motorcycle crash in downtown Pittsburgh. The incident came a year after Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. endured a motorcycle crash that caused him to miss the 2005 season. Reports have surfaced that these seemingly unrelated events are connected. An anonymous source claims that the incidents were part of the Cincinnati Bengals’ conspiracy to convince division rivals to ride motorcycles.

Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet at the time of his accident. Such risky behavior had drawn concern from the Steelers organization. Big Ben had even wanted to forgo helmets on the football field before being overruled by head coach Bill Cowher. Last summer, former Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw expressed his dismay over Roethlisberger’s motorcycle riding, feeling that the activity put him in needless jeopardy of serious injury. The Cincinnati front office allegedly arranged for Bradshaw’s appearance, feeling that Big Ben would do the opposite of what the Fox broadcaster advised. This strategy was based on the belief that the phrase “Terry Bradshaw, voice of reason” was too ridiculous to be taken seriously.

Fortunately for Roethlisberger, his injuries do not appear to be as severe as Winslow’s. Big Ben broke his jaw and nose while suffering minor knee injuries, but he is expected to be available when the Steelers begin defense of their Super Bowl title. Winslow, on the other hand, tore knee ligaments and did not see any action last fall. Surveillance video caught Winslow performing stunts in his ride around a parking lot. According to the anonymous source, video also showed a man in a Bengals jersey urging Winslow to try more dangerous maneuvers. That footage has not been shown to the public.

The other members of the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens, have not endured any motorcycle mishaps. However, safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis appear to have been targeted. One recent morning, a new Harley-Davidson mysteriously appeared outside Reed’s front door, with a note saying, “This is not from anyone in the Bengals organization. Really, I swear.” Lewis reportedly received a phone call in which the caller disguised his voice and went into great detail about the benefits of motorcycle riding. The fake voice trick apparently did not work, as Lewis knew from caller ID that he was talking to Chad Johnson.

According to the allegations, the conspiracy appears to target division rivals who played college football at Miami. Hurricanes have long been known for their swagger. They are considered more likely than other college players to have a sense of invincibility. Therefore, the theory is that they can be convinced to try dangerous pursuits such as motorcycle riding without fear of injury. The focus on Roethlisberger seems to be an oversight, as he played for Miami of Ohio.

Bengals officials could not be reached for comment. However, they have been stringent in forbidding any of their team members from riding motorcycles. Reportedly, they have been particularly emphatic on this issue with new wide receiver Arthur Fonzarelli, whose love for motorcycles is well-known. The front office clashed with the Fonz over his desire to perform a dangerous stunt with his bike, leaping over golfer Greg Norman. Team officials eventually won out, convincing him that jumping The Shark could lead to disaster.

Sources close to commissioner Paul Tagliabue noted that the league will investigate the allegations. In the meantime, Roethlisberger’s former teammate Jerome Bettis has already taken action in an emergency meeting of Miller Lite’s Men of the Square Table. With no exceptions, motorcycle riders must wear helmets, in accordance with Man Law.