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Ben Roethlisberger on Steelers Nation: 'They are the best fans in all of sports, not just the NFL'

(Photo by Fred Vuich/Getty Images)

After a year of playing in front of an empty stadium for most games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben Roethlisberger is looking forward to seeing a packed Heinz Field on Saturday night when the Steelers play the Lions in their third preseason game. It will be the first full-capacity crowd game at Heinz Field since the Steelers' Week 15 contest against the Bills on Dec. 15, 2019.

“This place is special. These fans are special,” Roethlisberger said after Thursday's practice. “They are the best fans in all of sports, not just the NFL. It would have been really hard to walk away and not be able to play in front of them. Almost half of my adult life I’ve spent playing football in front of them.

“They mean the world to me, so I want to give them everything I have.”

Mike Tomlin is also looking forward to entertaining Steelers Nation on Saturday night and is excited for Chase Claypool and other second-year players who missed out on an opportunity to play in front of filled stadiums last year.

"We're excited about playing a home game in Heinz Field in front of our fans," Tomlin said this morning. "It's been a long time since we've been able to do that and feel the energy and emotion that our fans provide, and we want to work to entertain them in this venue. That's an exciting thing, not only for some new players but some guys who have been here who hadn't experienced that. We got some second-year players, guys like Chase Claypool and others who hadn't had that experience, so we're really excited about playing at home and playing in front of our fans on Saturday evening."

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