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Ben Roethlisberger: I don’t think Mark Barron’s hit was dirty

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 27: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers injures himself while avoiding the rush against the St. Louis Rams in the third quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on September 27, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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When Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the low hit by Rams safety Mark Barron that injured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he said he was “not going to be critical of the hit or officiating” because of a league memo reminding teams not to be critical of other teams or officials.

Barron did hit Roethlisberger low, but he didn’t seem to target the knee and Roethlisberger still had the ball so there wasn’t too much to complain about other than the outcome. That seems to be Roethlisberger’s opinion as well. He said Tuesday, via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Media, that “I don’t think it was dirty.”

At this point, worrying about the hit is a secondary concern to getting back on the field and Roethlisberger said that there’s no specific timeline yet for that to happen. He said the MCL sprain has to heal for stability and that dealing with the bone bruise on the knee will be about pain tolerance, adding that it “is a lot of pain” right now.

None of that will clear up before Thursday’s game with the Ravens and Roethlisberger wants to be on the sideline to help Michael Vick in his first start with the Steelers. Coach Mike Tomlin has a rule against players on crutches being on the sideline, however, which could stop that from happening if that pain hasn’t subsided in the next 48 hours or so.