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Rodney Harrison responds to Hines Ward

Most people of reasonable intelligence interpreted Sunday night’s interview of Steelers receiver Hines Ward by NBC’s Bob Costas as a strong indication from Ward that he believes quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should have lied to doctors about post-concussion symptoms in order to play in a “must” win game against the Ravens.

Ward has since “clarified” (i.e., “retracted”) his remarks, apologized to Ben, and apologized publicly.

But Ward has now pointed a finger of blame at NBC’s Rodney Harrison.

“For him to question his quarterback’s toughness really shocked me,” Harrison told Dan Patrick and Tony Dungy after the interview was concluded. “If Tom Brady had a hangnail, never would any of the guys question Tom Brady.” (The video of Ward’s remarks can be seen right here.)

"[Harrison] stirred up the whole thing with me throwing [Roethlisberger] under the bus,” Ward said Wednesday, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It really wasn’t that at all.”

Ward supported his case that he did nothing out of line by seeking an opinion from . . . his mother.

“She thought nothing of it,” Ward said. “But Rodney Harrison, ex-Patriot, goes out and goes crazy and, ‘Well, he threw Ben under the bus.’”

(Reached for comment, Ward’s mother said of her son, “How could anyone not like him?” Of course, she didn’t say that. But, still, 12.3 percent of you will think she did.)

On Thursday, Harrison responded to Ward, during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.

“I love Hines Ward,” Harrison said. “I think he’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever played with. . . . [But] I would never question my quarterback, especially after winning two Super Bowls.”

Harrison realizes that players will be upset with him for violating the unwritten rules of the jockocracy, which requires former players who become analysts to say only good things about current players. “They get angry at you because you come out and do your job,” Harrison said.

Another former player who played in Pittsburgh with Ward agreed with Harrison’s interpretation of the remarks.

If I’m Ben, I’m definitely upset,” former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis told Dan Patrick on Wednesday. “Because I didn’t have the choice. the doctors didn’t clear me to play, so I don’t have a choice.”

So Hines should be blaming only one person -- and he also would be smart to quit talking about the situation and starting working with his teammates to ensure that there’s no lingering resentment toward Roethlisberger.