Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has tossed out the idea of retirement at nearly every turn over the past couple years. It’s seemingly been a major point of contention in Pittsburgh. Was Big Ben attempting to create some sense of drama within the Steelers’ organization or was he seriously considering hanging the cleats up for good?
Immediately after Pittsburgh selected former Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round of last week’s NFL Draft, Roethlisberger took to the media to indicate that he now wants to play several more years.
More recently, Big Ben called out the Steelers for said draft pick in what can only be described as an ugly quote from the future Hall of Fame signal caller.
“So, I was surprised when they took a quarterback, because I thought that maybe in the third round, you can get some really good football players that can help this team now,” Roethlisberger said Friday. “And nothing against Mason, I think he’s a great football player … I just don’t know how backing up or being the third guy, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart, but helps us win now.”
Isn’t it the job of GM Kevin Colbert to prepare for the future? Did Roethlisberger expect the Steelers to wait for his retirement to add a quarterback of the future? That’s insanity in its clearest form. It also leads us to believe that Roethlisberger is in this for himself.
Instead of embracing a mentor role, Roethlisberger’s first comments regarding Rudolph included him putting the Steelers’ selection of the quarterback on blast. It’s a pretty startling realization to come to. Roethlisberger is out here saying things that normally come from the mouth of a man not secure in his role.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
It was previously reported this offseason that the Steelers are looking to extend their franchise quarterback. Among the most successful at his position in recent NFL history, Pittsburgh isn’t simply going to replace Big Ben with Rudolph as the team’s starter. The selection was simply to prepare for a future without Roethlisberger. A future that the two-time Super Bowl champ has said several times is coming soon.
Now that Pittsburgh drafted Rudolph, Big Ben wants to play for several more seasons. Talk about reading too much into one draft pick.
The larger issue at hand here is Roethlieberger’s general attitude. Is he going to pull a Brett Favre and refuse to take on a mentor role for Rudolph? Heck, it’s the same thing that we saw with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo in New England. And it really doesn’t show these elite-level quarterbacks in the best of lights.
Should Big Ben go down that road, his legacy within the Steelers’ organization will be forever tarnished. One might even conclude that the relationship and a potential divorce would be as ugly as we saw with Favre in Green Bay.
No one needs that.