By Simon Evans
DALLAS (Reuters) - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger caused a media stir by taking team mates out for a drink in a Texas piano bar, but his team laughed off any suggestions that he was returning to his controversial ways.
Celebrity website TMZ.com posted a video of Roethlisberger out late Tuesday singing along to Billy Joel's "Piano Man" five days before the Steelers face the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl in Dallas.
"It was superstition and tradition," Roethlisberger said on Thursday, adding that the team curfew had not been broken.
"Tuesday night I take my linemen out to dinner and we went to a great barbecue spot. We went there and wanted to listen to some live music, so we went to a piano bar. We just had an enjoyable night."
The interest in Roethlisberger's off-field behavior is due largely to his attempt to change his image after he served a four-game suspension at the start of the NFL season following allegations of sexual assault in a nightclub.
While Roethlisberger was not charged with a crime, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he still violated the league's personal conduct policy. The quarterback has since stressed that he has changed his lifestyle.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he had no problem at all with his players taking some time out to relax during the build-up to Sunday's game.
"I am not concerned about that one iota. We were talking about approaching this game like we would any other game. It's normal for guys to eat dinner, believe it or not, every now and then during the course of the week," said Tomlin.
"So, this week is no different than any other. I understand that some things may be reported and viewed differently, but that's not our concern, really. During the course of the season on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, or what have you, believe it or not, guys live lives."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, when asked how he spent his downtime during Super Bowl week, said studying video of his opponents was taking up a lot of his time outside of practice.
"It is important, at the same time, that you are sticking with your normal routine. I like to go out to dinner when I'm back home in Green Bay ... and then come home, relax and watch film."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)