Steelers: Big Ben looking at wristband, not phone on sideline

The Steelers deny that Ben Roethlisberger was holding a phone during Thursday night's game against the Ravens.

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Was Ben Roethlisberger looking at his phone Thursday night on the sideline during the Steelers-Ravens game?

That was the consensus from television viewers, but according to a team spokesman, the injured quarterback actually was looking at his wristband.

The broadcast cameras pictured Big Ben holding and looking at what appeared to be a smartphone, which would be a violation of NFL rules since cellphones aren’t allowed on the sidelines. But Steelers spokesman Burt Lauren told Pro Football Talk on Friday that Roethlisberger was simply holding his standard game wristband and looking at the play calls on it.

Lauten also said that Roethlisberger kept the wristband in his sweatshirt and took it out periodically to track plays.

Given that the cellphone ban is well-known, it’s unlikely that Roethlisberger or the team would have risked being so brazen during a nationally televised game. This is especially true since the Steelers have had this situation come up before: In 2011, safety Troy Polamalu was fined $10,000 for using his phone during a game. The fine was later overturned on appeal, as Polamalu said he was using the phone to contact his wife and tell her he was OK after leaving the game with concussion-like symptoms.

(h/t Pro Football Talk)