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Bill Cowher reminisces about what separated Ben Roethlisberger from Manning and Rivers

The now Hall of Fame coach talks about what drew the team to Ben Roethlisberger, and his magical rookie season.

Using perceived slights as motivation is an NFL staple, but does it work? Patrick Schneider/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The legend of “Big Ben” started when a strong armed quarterback from the University of Miami slid in the 2004 NFL Draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Ben Roethlisberger on the board, and Philip Rivers and Eli Manning both gone, Bill Cowher and the Steelers pulled the trigger on the quarterback who would be the signal caller for the next 17 years, and counting.

With Cowher now preparing to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH this summer, he visited with Jim Rome to talk about his time with the Steelers. More importantly, he shared some stories about the pre-draft process when they interviewed all three quarterbacks.

During the interview Cowher mentions how he didn’t think any of the quarterbacks would be available to the Steelers when they picked, and he talked about the polish Manning and Rivers had, but when talking about Roethlisberger he talked about the chip on his shoulder coming from a smaller MAC school and wanting to prove himself.

Cowher went on to talk about the early portions of Roethlisberger’s rookie season where he was QB3 on the depth chart, but a preseason injury to Charlie Batch followed by an injury to Tommy Maddox gave way to the Big Ben era starting earlier than anyone ever thought. Roethlisberger’s play was not traditional. His ability to see the field and make things happen was both a blessing and a curse.

And Cowher talks about all of it. Check out the video below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they get through Organized Team Activities (OTAs), mandatory minicamp and training camp.