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NFL: Roethlisberger emerges as unquestioned leader

Associated Press
LATROBE, Pa. ó Casey Hampton labored unsuccessfully through the mandatory eight 100-yard dashes every Pittsburgh Steelers player must run to begin training camp.
When he realized he wouldnít make it, who ran up to lend not only a helping hand but offer words of consolation? Not another defensive player, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger isnít just running the offense, heís leading it. The entire team, too.
Thereís no hiding it: The Steelers are Big Benís team. Not Jerome Bettisí team or Alan Fanecaís team or Hines Wardís team, but one that now relies on No. 7.
iAbsolutely,î new center Justin Hartwig said.
The Steelers tore up Roethlisbergerís rookie contract to give him a new deal in March. A month later, they gladly fulfilled his request for a tall receiver with downfield skills by drafting Limas Sweed of Texas.
iI wanted to stay here,î Roethlisberger said. iThe day I came here, I wanted to be one of those guys who played their entire career for one team, like (John) Elway and (Dan) Marino.î
Broncos
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó John Lynchís days with Denver appear to be over. He met with coach Mike Shanahan and told Denverís KCNC-TV that Shanahan gave him permission to explore other opportunities. That could be playing for another team or retiring to perhaps go into the broadcast booth.
Raiders
NAPA, Calif. ó JaMarcus Russell was held out for the second straight practice because his throwing elbow was still sore after banging it off Darren McFaddenís helmet.

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