Originally created 07/15/06

Crash teaches Big Ben to appreciate the small stuff



STATELINE, Nev. -- Ben Roethlisberger has a new outlook on life. He talks to his family more. He appreciates those around him more. He even hugs more. Nearly dying in a motorcycle accident in June has changed everything for the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback.

"I think the accident was kind of God's way of saying, 'Ben, maybe you need to step back a little bit,' " Roethlisberger said Friday. "Maybe I was taking things for granted a little bit too much. It's almost like you get a feeling of invincibility.

"You know in Pittsburgh it's even worse because they put you on a pedestal," he added. "They elevate you so much... and sometimes you forget that you are human and I think that it's really helped me remember that I am."

Roethlisberger had seven hours of facial reconstruction surgery June 12 after ramming his motorcycle into a car that turned in front of him on a Pittsburgh street. He broke his jaw and nose and was thrown over the car onto the pavement.

Dr. Daniel Pituch , one of the quarterback's surgeons , said at a news conference in Pittsburgh on

Friday that he has seen patients in similar accidents

suffocate after their airways get blocked by blood.

OWENS' 'HEROIC' ADMISSION: Terrell Owens says plenty in his new book. Except for one word he now claims he didn't say.

But making a big deal of an apparent misquotation - despite the sentence being written in the first-person - is the kind of media nitpicking Owens would lament in his 242-page book that mostly offers his side of two tumultuous seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In T.O., which debuted last week, Owens likens former teammate Donovan McNabb to a bully who spat in his mouth as a teenager while he innocently slept on a school bus.

The new Dallas Cowboys receiver also devotes pages to his perceived vilification in the media and describes his quick comeback from a leg fracture in 2004 as, "If you'll forgive me for saying so... nothing short of heroic."

Owens said Thursday at a book signing near the Cowboys' headquarters that T.O. co-author Jason Rosenhaus, brother of Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, invented that particular phrase.

"(Heroic) was one of the words that Jason used," Owens said. "... I can't say that I called it 'heroic.' "

The discrepancy seems to contradict Owens' assertion of "These are my words, straight from me to you" on the book's second page.

BILLS: Buffalo signed offensive tackle Jason Peters to a contract extension Friday. The Bills hope he can be one of the anchors of their offensive line. Cutlinetim dunn/associated press