Roethlisberger: Niners were overly aggressive with injured ankle

Ben Roethlisberger said he suspected the San Francisco 49ers targeted his sprained left ankle in a regular-season game last year, but the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback did not think the team participated in any foul play.

Asked about the last time he felt an opposing team was trying to cause or exacerbate a specific injury, Roethlisberger brought up last season's 20-3 loss to the 49ers in Week 16. Roethlisberger threw three interceptions and fumbled twice in the game while playing with a high ankle sprain.

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"Um, wow, that's tough," Roethlisberger said on "The Dan Patrick Show," via Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. "I don't really complain about that stuff, either. But I think when we played San Fran, I felt like there were some things going on, some extra ... Now, obviously, I did have the ankle and I was playing, so there was kind of a bulls-eye on there anyway. But for the most part, guys play tough and you go into a game expecting it. I expect to be tougher than them."

Roethlisberger didn't believe he had ever been the target of a "bounty" program analogous to the system the New Orleans Saints ran, in which defenders were rewarded by coaches for injuring opposing players.

"Sometimes you get guys -- things happen under piles and, you know, the little extra twisting of the ankles and poking, things like that," Roethlisberger said. "But this whole bounty thing -- I don't know if I'd sit there and say, 'Wow, that guy really tried to end my career.' Honestly, I don't know."

The 49ers declined to comment to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

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