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Published: Monday, 3/3/2008

Ben Roethlisberger signs 8-year extension with Steelers


PITTSBURGH Ben Roethlisberger signed an eight-year extension worth $102 million with the Pittsburgh Steelers that makes him one of the NFL s highest-paid players.

The deal includes more than $36 million guaranteed, and keeps Roethlisberger with the Steelers through 2015.

Ben has been an outstanding leader on the field for the Steelers since his rookie year and we are very happy to know that he will be our quarterback for many years to come, Steelers president Art Rooney II said Monday in a statement.

Roethlisberger turned 26 on Sunday and said the contract was a great birthday present.

This is about being a Pittsburgh Steeler for as long as I can be. I love Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger said. He said he wanted to be like the Dan Marinos, like the John Elways, guys who played with one team their whole career.

The Pro Bowl quarterback led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory two years ago and has been the starter in all four of seasons he s been with the team.

Roethlisberger threw 32 touchdown passes with only 11 interceptions in leading the Steelers to the playoffs this season, bouncing back from an injury-marred season.

He was hurt in a serious motorcycle accident in the 2006 offseason, then underwent an appendectomy. Although he started 15 games, his play was subpar.

He threw 23 interceptions, three more than he had thrown in his first two seasons, and Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs.

This season, he led the Steelers to a 10-6 record and the AFC North title before they were eliminated by Jacksonville in the playoffs.

Roethlisberger was the third quarterback taken in the 04 draft, behind Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, and the 11th choice overall. He started 13 games his rookie season and was voted offensive rookie of the year, the first quarterback to win the award since it was first given in 1957. The next year he led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory.

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