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Ben Roethlisberger's teammates push MVP candidacy

We made a few fearless predictions on Around the League this week about the second half. My contribution: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would wind up winning the MVP award.

His teammates, needless to say, are on board.

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"He should be a candidate," backup Byron Leftwich told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in reference to an ESPN list not having him in the top-five candidates. "The fact he was not listed is ridiculous. He's one of the elite; '7' can play the game of football, and he's playing at a very high level."

"Sometimes he doesn't get mentioned with the elite quarterbacks for one reason or another," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "We in this locker room consider him the best."

"He's a big-time leader, a big-time competitor, a fourth-quarter killer," wideout Mike Wallace said. "He's the toughest quarterback in the league. ... He picked up the new offense really fast. I feel it's time he gets the recognition he deserves."

Roethlisberger's candidacy should gain steam in the second half. The Steelers improve each week, and the defenses in the AFC North aren't as difficult as they appeared to be before the season. We already have Big Ben No. 4 on our list, with room to rise.

This whole Todd Haley-era is starting out pretty well.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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