Maddox says he'll help Roethlisberger adjust

Updated: April 28, 2004, 5:15 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Tommy Maddox expects to remain the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback now that he has had a clear-the-air meeting with coach Bill Cowher.

Maddox insisted Wednesday he isn't upset the Steelers drafted Ben Roethlisberger in the first round of last weekend's draft, though his agent has suggested otherwise. He said he is ready to help the rookie become an NFL starter.

Just not right away, of course.

"Until they tell me differently. I'm preparing, planning, and getting ready like I am playing this season," Maddox said.

Maddox was assured during the 45-minute meeting Tuesday that the Steelers won't hand the job to Roethlisberger. They also plan to give Maddox a pay raise after June 1, once they release or trade linebacker Jason Gildon to free up salary cap room.

Maddox was due to make $750,000 this season under the contract he signed while still a backup, which would have put him in the uncomfortable role of making less than either Roethlisberger or backup Charlie Batch.

Maddox was said to be emotional when the meeting with Cowher started, but Maddox insisted the talk wasn't heated or one-sided. Cowher said Sunday he needed to talk to Maddox to judge his frame of mind.

"We had a good conversation," Maddox said. "I appreciated the things he had to say and I appreciated him listening to me. We had a good, long meeting."

Maddox's agent, Vann McElroy, had said the meeting would be Monday, but Maddox was too upset to attend then. Maddox denied that.

"I think there's always emotion in this business ... whether you're on the field or the things that go on off it," he said. "[But] I don't get that bad unless it's really bad."

Despite saying repeatedly he wasn't angry, Maddox said he waited until Wednesday to talk to reporters because "I didn't want to say anything I didn't want to say."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press