PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has faced a torrent of public criticism since the end of the 2018 season for, among other things, his leadership style and his relationship with former wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brown has been critical of Roethlisberger since he left the team, saying that Roethlisberger had an “owner mentality” and felt that the relationship between the two could have been better.
“I would’ve liked for me and Ben to be cool. I thought we was cool,” Brown said to ESPN over the offseason. “When I think, I been to his house one time, he’s been to my house one time. We don’t work out in the offseason. It’s like, yo, if we really want to win, you think that’s winning? That’s not winning, that’s not winning culture.”
In an interview with KDKA on Monday, Roethlisberger apologized for criticizing Brown publicly last season. He said on Tuesday that he needs to be a better leader.
“When you’re talking leadership, you’re talking relationships,” he said. “In this sport, relationships change on a yearly basis because guys are here and gone. So you have to do your best to try and realize what it takes for each guy to develop the best relationship that you can.”
Part of that has been done off the field, as Roethlisberger restarted a tradition of taking the skill position players out on his boat in the spring. Part of it involves being more present at OTAs this year, which Roethlisberger says he plans on doing.
“I think that’s part of what last weekend was,” he said. “Some of the guys getting together. A lot of people think it’s just about football and understanding the depth and how to throw to a guy, but sometimes you have to understand the person, too. When you can understand the person, you can understand how the like certain passes and how to have fun together.”
But the biggest part of it, at least according to Roethlisberger, is to get the team back to its winning ways.
“When it comes to leadership and things like that, we didn’t make the playoffs last year,” he said “We didn’t win our division. I lacked in leadership, because that’s my job as the leader of this team: to get us to the playoffs. So, I’m going to need to focus and re-focus my energy and time on ‘How can I be a better leader to get us back to the playoffs?’”
Ben Roethlisberger: ‘If They Decided to Trade Me I Would Probably Just Call it Quits’
Don’t expect a Tom Brady/Phillip Rivers/Peyton Manning situation ever developing between the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger.
Speaking with Bill Cowher on the NFL on CBS pregame show before the Steelers’ 26-21 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Roethlisberger made it clear that he isn’t interested in finishing out his career with a different franchise.
The interview, which ranged from Roethlisberger’s return in front of an empty NFL stadium, to his long road to recovery, ended with Cowher asking (if not downright pleading) for his former star quarterback to remain in Pittsburgh.
"This is home. I don't know anything but bleeding black and gold."
@Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger sits down with his former coach @CowherCBS to discuss his fight to get back in the game and his devotion to the Steelers organization. pic.twitter.com/A0Q7Yj2yBA
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 20, 2020
“You’re in your seventeenth year,” Cowher said. “Tom going to Tampa, we saw Phillip go to Indianapolis. Please tell me you’ll follow the footsteps of Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu and you will always be a Steeler. Can you go on record and say that?”
“I can most likely go on record and say that,” Roethlisberger said. “I have no plans on going anywhere. And I feel like even if they decided to trade me I would probably just call it quits. This is home. I don’t know anything but bleeding black and gold.
While anything can happen in the NFL, as clearly illustrated by Brady playing in Tampa Bay red and pewter this season, it doesn’t sound like Steelers fans should have any worries about where Roethlisberger’s loyalties lie.
From the Locker Room: Joe Haden says Steelers Looked to be Physical Despite Penalties
Steelers cornerback Joe Haden speaks with reporters, including Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about the pass interference penalties against his team and the defense’s fourth-quarter stop in their 26-21 win over the Denver Broncos.
Joe Haden had an up and down day, recording an interception but also losing some one-on-one battles, most notably almost being beat for what would’ve been a sure touchdown until the receiver tripped.
Steelers Postgame Show: Turnovers, Big Plays Allow Steelers to Beat Broncos
It wasn’t exactly as pretty as some expected, but the Steelers managed to win nonetheless. Mike Asti and Matt Gajtka guided fans through a Steelers edition of Pittsburgh Postgame, discussing the 26-21 win over Denver and what needs to improve to keep the winning streak going.
How did Ben Roethlisberger look after another week of actual game play? Is James Conner back or are his week 2 numbers a bit misleading? What were the bright spots, as well as, weaknesses from the defense? Mike and Matt answered all those questions and much more immediately following the game.