Ben Roethlisberger: Today’s young players are pampered

Ben Roethlisberger: Today’s young players are pampered

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The recent puff piece from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regarding former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger attempted to inject some balance by asking Roethlisberger to list his career regrets.

The most obvious area of ​​potential reflection and regret was not mentioned, either by Roethlisberger or by Ron Cook, who wrote the article. (Hey, if no one ever mentions it, it never happened, right?)

Instead, Roethlisberger lamented the team’s loss in Super Bowl XLV, playing the what-if game with center Maurkice Pouncey’s ankle injury and Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble. (Don’t tell Mendenhall it was a fumble.) Roethlisberger also bemoaned the fact that the Steelers won just three postseason games after the Super Bowl that ended the 2010 season.

“I feel like the game has changed,” Roethlisberger said at that point. “I feel like the people have changed in a way. Maybe it’s because I was spoiled when I came in. The team was so important. Everything was about the team. Now it’s about me and this, that and the other.

“I may be standing on a soapbox a bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from the beginning to the end. It went from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was heavy. It’s hard for these young guys too. Social Media. They are treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL thing, which is incredible. They are treated so special. They are coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win too. I know coach [Terry] Hoeppner never pampered me [at Miami of Ohio]. Neither did it [Bill] Cowher.”

Well, that’s interesting. Hoeppner coached Roethlisberger for four years. Cowher coached Roethlisberger in three.

Mike Tomlin coached Roethlisberger for 15 NFL seasons.

It’s fair to wonder if Roethlisberger is saying Tomlin is cozying up to players. We already know he does, at least with bigs like Antonio Brown.

The other way of saying it is that Tomlin knows how to handle potentially problematic players, to talk to their better angels. What might look like cuddling is more like defusing (or at least delaying) a ticking time bomb.

In fact, we’ve heard for years that players who weren’t known to have problems in Pittsburgh sometimes go elsewhere and create internal chaos. Other coaches in the NFL deeply respect Tomlin’s ability to steer players who might be prone to trouble away from doing so. With Brown, Tomlin somehow managed to do that for nearly a decade.

Some will also see Roethlisberger’s comments as ironic, given that he was an unpopular, me-first presence at times in the early years of his career. He became known for (or at least suspected of) embellishing and/or faking injuries, starting in the aftermath of the 2004 AFC Championship. He claimed he was playing with multiple broken toes. Cowher publicly declared that his rookie quarterback had zero metatarsal fractures.

There were several problems for Young Ben, including the motorcycle accident that (according to him) left him “seconds, maybe a minute away from dying”, along with a reputation in the dressing room for being a bit grumpy and obnoxious at times.

There is a whole chapter in it Playmakers dedicated to the redemption Roethlisberger experienced after being suspended for four games in 2010. (As a previously unnamed teammate opined regarding Ben, “He’s a piece of shit.”) As noted in Playmakers, it is eerie that the indiscretions of his youth have been completely lost to history. Apparently, the entire universe of people who have acquired amnesia regarding the early days of Roethlisberger’s career now includes Roethlisberger himself.

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