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Sportress of Blogitude

Ben Roethlisberger present at Steelers OTAs on Wednesday

Ben Roethlisberger was a welcome presence at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ OTA practice on Wednesday after missing the team’s first six sessions of the offseason. And perhaps just as important is that the veteran signal-caller’s provided an arguably reasonable explanation for his previous absences.

Roethlisberger, according to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, said he was on a family vacation that was planned prior to the release of the Steelers’ offseason schedule.

Interestingly, Roethlisberger making note of how his absence allowed “other guys to get reps” certainly is intriguing in light of the drama caused by comments he made after the draft about the Steelers selecting Mason Rudolph, his presumed heir apparent. Although it would appear that any issues between the Steelers and Roethlisberger over Rudolph’s presence have since been resolved.

The debate over the importance of a veteran of Roethlisberger’s pedigree skipping out on OTAs — which are voluntary — has been a big talker as the NFL ramps up its offseason activity, especially in light of Tom Brady having passed on attending OTAs alongside his New England Patriots teammates.

But as was the case when Brady showed up this week for mandatory minicamp, odds are Big Ben’s absences at OTAs won’t be viewed as a serious issue should he be present at the Steelers’ minicamp sessions next week.