I hate to be the one to break the news to a rather large portion of our BTSC brethren, but Ryan Switzer has no intentions of leaving town without a fight. Actually, based on a recent quote from the man himself, Switzer has never been more confident in his own ability to have a successful NFL career.
Thus far during his time in the Steel City, Switzer's performance has been underwhelming to say the least. He hasn't displayed the necessary skills set and short area burst to make an impact on the field, especially when you factor in his diminutive stature. His lack of size and explosion results in him going down on first contact as a receiver, while his apparent hesitation as a punt returner has resulted in him being crowned the King of the Fair Catch.
Switzer's unproductive initial season in 2018 with the Steelers was blamed on him playing through a undisclosed ankle injury, and big things were expected heading into last season after offseason surgery. However, that pleasant dream quickly turned into a nightmare for Switzer and the Steelers.
After Ben Roethlisberger went down for the season in Week 2, Switzer continued to be an ineffective afterthought until he was eventually placed on injured reserve with a back injury in November, basically ending his second disappointing season in a row with the Steelers.
For all intents and purposes, even the most ardent Switzer supporters would have had to admit that the odds of Switzer remaining in a Steelers uniform this season would be the longest of long shots. Many members of the BTSC community have been impatiently waiting with bated breath for Switzer to be kicked to the curb. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and not a moment too soon.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to Switzer's big release party. Switzer and his wife Gabie were spotted on live television taking in a WV Mountaineers basketball game with the Roethlisbergers. Yes, those Roethlisbergers; Big Ben and his lovely wife Ashley.
Everybody sure seemed to be having a grand old time, and the couples were yucking it up for all to see. The telecast cameras focused on the festivities happening in the stands throughout the game, with Roethlisberger posing for pictures with the Mountaineers mascot, made even funnier by the fact they had the same beard. Like an episode of Gilligan's Island, it sure looked like Ben was having a blast with his little buddy. I could feel minds melting all across Steelers Nation.
Like it or not, friendships and personal relationships have a direct impact on roster configuration. That is true for any business or profession. In any relationship for that matter. It is human nature to try and surround ourselves with like-minded individuals who we have an increased chance of enjoying an successful endeavor with. Individuals who we actually want to have around. This helps create a happier work environment.
It never hurts to have a strong friendship with the Hall of Fame caliber face of the franchise. Players of Ben Roethlisberger's status usually get their way, with the front office striving to keep their star players happy and content.
Switzer is feeling supremely confident about his chances of having a breakout season, even during the pandemic. He stated on Instagram recently that he is in the best shape of his life, and fully expects to be one of the best slot receivers in the league this year.
Regardless of your opinion of the young man, you have to admire the confidence. To accomplish any goal, you first have to believe it is possible.
Please understand that I would never accuse Ryan Switzer of befriending Ben Roethlisberger solely to solidify his status on the Steelers roster, nor would I suggest that Ben would utilize his status to influence roster decisions. But I will say this, it sure shouldn't hurt Switzer's chances.