The Steelers have received a lot of attention from the media recently due to the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. After the team released a video of him throwing at Heinz Field, numerous television programs and radio shows took to the air to share their takes on whether the quarterback will be able to return to form this season. While the majority of reporters and analysts were optimistic about Roethlisberger's ability to compete this year, none have been more adamant than former Steelers free safety Ryan Clark. His expectations for the team became abundantly clear during a conversation about the Steelers on a segment of ESPN's Get Up.
The debate began when host Mike Greenberg asked a panel consisting of Dominique Foxworth, Mike Tannenbaum, and Ryan Clark what the Steelers can be this year with Ben Roethlisberger back at the helm. Foxworth spoke first, citing the Steelers strong coaching staff and defensive talent as reasons the team should make the playoffs. His assessment seemed fair, but Tannenbaum disagreed, sharing a completely different view of the situation. He began by stating that the Steelers have at best the 2nd strongest quarterback in the AFC North, and maybe the third or fourth. The notion that Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow are already better than the two time Super Bowl winning Roethlisberger was enough to cause Ryan Clark some visible discomfort as he closed his eyes and leaned his head back in disgust.
When he finally got his chance to speak, Clark took little time tearing apart Tannenbaum's logic. You can watch a clip of the interaction below.
After stating how ridiculous it is to say that Burrow and Mayfield are better than Roethlisberger, Clark went on to discuss how quarterback play isn't what will determine the Steelers' success this season. Both times Roethlisberger has won a Super Bowl, it has been on the backs of great defenses, and in the words of Clark, all the quarterback had to do was "Not muck it up". The Steelers finally have an elite defensive unit like those of the early 2000s, so even if Roethlisberger isn't the same player he once was, Clark believes the Steelers can still be among the league's best teams this season. In closing, Clark stated "I think Ben plays great this year, has a chance to do some wonderful things, and they can win it all if things fall right."
This isn't the first time the former Steelers safety defended Roethlisberger this offseason. Back in June, he stated that he thinks it is possible Big Ben can win another Super Bowl before he retires, even with obstacles like up-and-coming star Lamar Jackson standing in his way. Then, later that month after a video surfaced of the quarterback discussing his struggles with addiction, Clark gave an impassioned speech about how wrong it was for the media to be debating the validity of Roethlisberger's confession. "I hate us for this, I hate myself for having to speak on a man being vulnerable, a man being human," he said. It was a truly touching moment and showed that the bond between the former teammates goes much deeper than football.
So what do you think of Ryan Clark's comments? Let us know below.