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Ben Roethlisberger says ‘coddled’ NFL players to blame for Pittsburgh Steelers recent playoff woes, takes aim at NIL deals

Matt Johnson

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is only a few months into retirement and the 40-year-old is already letting his feelings fly. Months after he stepped away from football, seemingly holding the belief he was pushed out, the former star is weighing in on the best NFL players today.

Pittsburgh is preparing for its first season without Roethlisberger, hoping it can remain a contender with either Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky under center. However, the club finds itself expected to finish near the bottom of the division in NFL predictions.

Whatever happens this upcoming season, the Steelers will have some regrets about their struggles in recent years. While they made the playoffs in six of their last eight seasons, never finishing below a .500 record, the lack of postseason success in the last decade hangs over the franchise.

Related: Ben Roethlisberger hints Pittsburgh Steelers GM, HC wanted him out in 2021

In a recent profile interview with Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethslierberg addressed addressed the frustration caused by winning just three total playoff games since that Super Bowl run. Looking back at the cause of it, he seemed to indicate ‘me-first’ young players and entitlement from some of his teammates who entered the league in recent years is to blame.

“I feel like the game has changed. I feel like the people have changed in a sense. Maybe it’s because I got spoiled when I came in. The team was so important. It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other.

Ben Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff woes in final years

In Roethlisberger’s final 10 playoff games, Pittsburgh posted a 3-7 record with the offense failing to score 20-plus points on five separate occasions. In his final playoff start against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 16 in the AFC Wild Card Round, he recorded his two touchdowns after Kansas City already led 35-7.

Ben Roethlisberger sounds off on NIL deals for college athletes

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Roethlisberger doesn’t seem to just take issue with the mindset of younger NFL players, believing that played a role in his diminished playoff record. He also took aim at Name, Image and Likeness being to blame for student-athletes “being treated so well in college” and cites it as part of the reason for the mentality of athletes today.

“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win, too. I know coach [Terry] Hoeppner never coddled me [at Miami of Ohio]. Neither did [Bill] Cowher.”

Ben Roethlisberger on ‘me-type’ NFL players

It’s fair to say Roethlisberger was never a fan of Antonio Brown nor JuJu Smith-Schuster and while he believes he still has the physical talent to play in the NFL, it’s not something he wants to do. Instead, he’s made himself available to the Steelers’ quarterbacks if they need it.

Related: Ben Roethlisberger reached out to Kenny Pickett