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Ben Roethlisberger makes impression on potential heir by meeting Patrick Mahomes

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger went out of his way to possibly meet the next QB for the black and gold.

NFL: AFC Championship-Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL prospect pre-draft visit schedule can be grueling. Players meeting with coaches, watching film, working out and proving their skill set repeatedly can wear on any number of players, regardless of position.

For Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, on a recent visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was a meeting with Ben Roethlisberger which certainly got his attention. While most might think the meeting to be awkward, considering if the team drafts Mahomes he could be the heir apparent for the post-Roethlisberger era, but Mahomes said the meeting was good, and genuine.

"I was watching film there, for about two hours, and he walked in just to say 'Hi'," Mahomes told "There wasn't much to it, but that was the most exciting thing of the trip for me. I look at him, and I try to play with that same toughness. He's going to be a Hall of Famer, he's been to Super Bowls, that's the guy you want to be like. Hopefully I'll get to learn from him one day. Maybe I'll end up competing against him."

When asked if there was any joking about him potentially replacing Roethlisberger, Mahomes said there was none of the kind.

"He didn't make any jokes about that," Mahomes said.

While this could be one of those awesome stories about the future meeting the present, most experts are suggesting Mahomes will be drafted well ahead of the Steelers in the first round with the 30th pick. With teams like the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans all showing serious interest in the Texas Tech signal caller, the Steelers would have to trade up to take Mahomes.

This is where the debate of drafting a quarterback now, or later, continues to rage on throughout the Steelers’ large fan base. With glaring needs at other positions, mainly on defense, the 2017 NFL Draft could go any number of ways for the black and gold.

If you want a positive spin on this story, the fact Roethlisberger was in the team’s facility during Mahomes’ visit at least shows his intent on playing in if there was any doubt.