What was once the driving force of page views, talk show fodder and general mayhem has quieted to a whisper.
One of the few first-name-only sports figures in Pittsburgh history ascended to that position due to his success, the length of his last name and the frequency in which both were discussed.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn't giving terse, vague responses regarding the relationship he has with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He's not speaking about injuries or Super Bowl losses.
He isn't even talking about allegations or lawsuits.
Ben Roethlisberger has become Page 2 news in Steeler Nation. And that's a weird and welcomed thing.
It wasn't long after Roethlisberger was drafted he became the talk of the town. The most successful rookie quarterback in NFL history (in terms of wins), the national media feasted on stories about local sandwiches with his namesake, his impressive mobility and rocket arm.
Then it was his rocket bike and near-fatal accident, followed by his continued insistence to not wear a helmet. He spurred Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw in such a way their relationship may only ever be mended in the eyes of the public, not behind closed doors.
Poor seasons following Super Bowl championships into unwavering support for a presumably derisive offensive coordinator, the controversial wake Roethlisberger's mega-popular steam cruiser created washed up in Reno, Nev. And Millidgeville, Ga. In 2010. Those accusations did not bring a charge from local authorities, but brought the hammer from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who hit Roethlisberger with a six-game suspension to start the 2010 season. It was reduced to four, which is still significantly less of a reduction than that of his popularity.
This offseason? Nothing. Maybe some crickets or the sound of a metal driver twacking a golf ball from the blue tees at some prestigious course. But Peyton Manning is taking the headlines of the standard offseason golf stories, having recently (allegedly) shooting a 77 at Augusta.
One has to wonder if Roethlisberger is privately hacked off by his low ranking in NFL.com's popular (if not stupid) Top 100 Players list. The issue is, you can't find his reaction anywhere, except for the generally supportive and wise remarks he made recently about the talented young passers in the league needing to remember things get harder.
And that is the most controversial comment Roethlisberger has made this offseason. That's not even a ripple in the massive pond of the morsel-made-into-steak mentality of NFL offseason news.
No more stories about trips to Georgia, or appearances on Monday Night Raw. He's pushed off the front pages for the sensational headlines made by the agent of Joe Flacco calling the Ravens stupid and scan-over stories about the zone read option.
Maybe he is, at age 31, learning the wisdom of not poking the starving media bear this time of the year. Maybe his newborn son and wife of going on two years took the rebel-without-a-game-scheduled out of him. The hope is he's channeling the Big Ben personality into his game, and will come into camp prepared to refresh the record books with 2013 year stamps ahead of all the lower number years that hold his name.
Perhaps the crazy is over for Roethlisberger. Boring Ben seems more likeable than Big Ben anyway.