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Big Ben, Little Ben: Roethlisberger would miss game for son’s birth

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Ben Roethlisberger. (Getty Images)

Babies tend to make things inconvenient for the formerly childless right from the word go. Doesn't much matter if you're, say, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, babies go on their own schedule and don't much respect yours.

Good thing for babies, then, that most parents put the kids' needs first ... even if it involves, say, skipping an NFL game where you're starting at quarterback.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger announced this summer that he and his wife are expecting their first son this fall, and Roethlisberger has left no doubt about where his priorities lie vis-à-vis football and baby:

"I'm not missing the birth of my child," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "There's no chance. I know some fans probably don't want to hear that, but there's no chance."

Realistically, Roethlisberger should be OK; people can and do get back to work shortly after childbirth. (Also realistically: It's a lot easier for the father than the mother.) Assuming the little fella doesn't actually start kicking on a Sunday morning, Roethlisberger could, in theory, be in uniform any two given weeks and see the miracle of childbirth in between ... though it's not for any of us to judge whether that's appropriate for him, now, is it?

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Roethlisberger is understandably coy about Little Ben's due date, but allowed that it is in mid-season. Looking at the Steelers' schedule, here's how that breaks down. As every fantasy owner knows, Pittsburgh's bye week comes in Week 4, which may be a little early to qualify for "mid-season." So let's zero in on Weeks 6-10:

Oct. 11 (Thursday), at Tennessee: Nobody quite knows how Tennessee will fare this year, but of the teams in the mid-season slate, this is one of two that Roethlisberger could probably afford to miss.

Oct. 21, at Cincinnati: The 10-day break could prove crucial here, as Roethlisberger will need to be in uniform for a stout divisional matchup on the road.

Oct. 28: vs. Washington: If you're going to skip a game, this would probably be the one to miss. Sure, the Redskins have RGIII, but not much else, and home-field advantage ought to be more than enough to overwhelm Washington even without Roethlisberger.

Nov. 4, at New York Giants: Another marquee QB matchup, this time with Eli Manning and an unpredictable Giants squad. This is another necessary game for Roethlisberger; with him they have a chance, without him, it's a much harder road.

Nov. 12 (Monday), vs. Kansas City: The Steelers are money on "Monday Night Football," and new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be itching for revenge against the Chiefs team that dumped him earlier this year. Haley would love to have his field general actually on the field.

From a football perspective, the Steelers have Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich as backups, which ... come on, Steelers fans, it's not THAT bad. You'll survive. Probably.

From a family perspective, Roethlisberger might have just won back a few fans who had abandoned him in the wake of his earlier-career unpleasantness. He compared fatherhood to quarterbacking, noting that "When you're going to be a father, all you think about is having this little baby, you don't think about the registry, the room, the diapers, all the little things that go along with it. It's exciting and it is a little bit scary, too."

There you have it: babies. They even scare NFL quarterbacks.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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