“Well, that’s fine. He can do that. But I plan on playing three to five more years, depending on how the line goes and staying healthy, if I can stay healthy.”
”If he’s going to be their guy, that’s great, but in my perfect world it’s not going to be for a while.”
Those two quotes (courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) came from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, when he was asked last week about the team’s decision to select Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
”I went and talked to Art and Coach [Mike Tomlin] and coach Randy [Fichtner] and basically said, listen, I can’t control--barring major injuries, barring things at home, and things out of your control--the way my body feels. The way our O-line is put together, as good as they are, they kept me healthy as can be the last couple of years. I really feel I can play this game another three to five years.”
That’s another Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-attained quote from Roethlisberger regarding the selection of perhaps the most-capable heir to Roethlisberger’s throne since the quarterback came into the league.
Not bad stuff, right? Especially when he went all Passive-Aggressive Ben at the end and said this: “You know he’s able to play. Anytime you get guys to come in, you can try to teach them a little bit, it’s a good thing. I’ll do whatever I can to help.”
Yeah, right, Ben.
I could have told you the old cowboy wasn’t going to be happy with an actual legit heir apparent. In fact, I predicted it last spring.
Since this is the laziest article in the history of BTSC, I offer you yet another quote (this time from one of my own pieces from a year ago, however): “If the organization has convinced Roethlisberger that it will do the necessary things to win right now, would bringing in his successor be the wisest decision?”
Anyway, I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so.
Obviously, Roethlisberger wasn’t going to be thrilled with the selection of a quarterback in the first three rounds of this year’s draft, not after saying in January he wanted to play a few more seasons.
What player wants to look over his shoulder and see a rookie who could take his job?
You might not think it can happen, but after suffering an injury early in the 2001 season, Drew Bledsoe, a high-pedigreed and fairly-accomplished quarterback back in his day, probably thought he would get his starting job back.
Sure, Bledsoe was no Big Ben, and Tom Brady was obviously not your typical sixth-round draft choice, but nothing is ever out of the realm of possibility in the world of professional sports.
And, you know what? I’m fine with Roethlisberger not being fine with the selection of Rudolph, and if I haven’t exploited the post-draft gift that has been the Big Ben quote machine enough already, here is one from Friday, courtesy of his appearance on 93.7 the Fan and Bryan Anthony Davis’ article:
”Maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team win now. Nothing against Mason, think he’s a great football player. I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid. Umm I just don’t know how backing up or being a third, well who know where he’s going to fall on the depth chart, helps us win now, but you know that’s not my decision to make that’s on the coaches and GM and all those kind of things. If they think he can help our team, umm so be it, but I was a little surprised.”
Ah, yes, the very same show that Roethlisberger hinted at retirement in 2017 is the one he passively-aggressively hinted at not liking the Rudolph pick in 2018.
I love this guy, and you should, too.
I mean, this is the Steelers we’re talking about, and as everyone knows, we can’t have a Super Bowl-winning quarterback who isn’t a diva, who isn’t a bit disingenuous. (See Terry Bradshaw.)
Besides all that, we shouldn’t want a Super Bowl-winning quarterback that is willing and ready to help the guy who could one day take his job simply due to salary cap ramifications.
Those things that Roethlisberger also said about how it’s the backup quarterback’s job to help the rookie passers (I’ve quoted enough for one article), that’s actually true--or at least it should be.
Roethlisberger has enough on his plate. He’s got a new offensive coordinator's playbook to learn. He’s got a superstar receiver to appease. He’s got another Super Bowl or two to win.
And perhaps most importantly, he’s got a super-sized ego to feed--as he should.
What would you rather have: a franchise quarterback talking about retirement or a franchise quarterback talking about how he may not like the new guy drafted at his position?
Roethlisberger doesn’t need any more fuel to keep him motivated. He certainly doesn’t need an understudy quarterback to kick him in the butt, either.
What he needs is to keep being Big Ben.
These quotes--the ones filled with so much passive-aggressiveness, I really don’t know how his wife ever wins any arguments with him--are a good sign.
If there’s a quarterback alive today who would play three to five more years just out of spite, it’s Ben Roethlisberger.