Ben Roethlisberger and his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates are rallying to the defense of pop star Justin Bieber amid reports his “curse” may have caused the team in its stunning loss to the Jets on Sunday.

The fact that the Steelers entered Sunday’s game as one of the league’s hottest teams, only to walk away with a 20-13 loss to the then one-win Jets aside, Roethlisberger easily dismisses such gossip.

“That’s not a big deal at all,” Roethlisberger said of Bieber hanging out with the team the night before the game. “For instance, [former Steelers wide receiver] Plaxico Burress stopped by. Obviously he’s family, but people stop by all of the time and say, ‘Hi,’ and we’ve had other athletes, actors, celebrities, stuff like that stop by. It’s not a big deal at all.”

ESPN reports a handful of Steelers players posed for pictures with Bieber after a Saturday night team worship service. Legendary Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw later publicly insisted he wouldn’t have allowed Bieber around the team and that “outsiders” were rarely allowed in during his day. To all that, Roethlisberger simply contends things have changed.

Roethlisherger adds he did not personally meet Bieber and that he attended the team’s worship service because the person leading it is also mentoring the controversial and at times troubled pop star.

The Steelers hope to put all the drama behind them when they visit the Titans this Sunday.

[Credit Photo: Jeffrey Beall]