Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert knows what it’s like blocking for a quarterback that takes a ton of hits. Not a year has gone by during his Hall of Fame worthy career that Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t been banged up.
Despite being a big-bodied quarterback, Big Ben has constantly found himself on the team’s injury report throughout his career. Now set to return this week after suffering a knee injury last month, the hope in Pittsburgh is that Roethlisberger can make it through the remainder of the season.
In drawing a comparison between his quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, Gilbert had this to say.
“Ben gets hit more than anybody in the league, and he never complains. C’mon, man. This is the game of football,” Gilbert said, via ESPN.com. “If you’re out there and you’re scared to take a shot, then don’t be out there, especially if you’re a running quarterback. (Defenses) are going to take shots at you. Just the way, his style of playing football, how he celebrates, I guess he gives the guys a chip, like let’s go hit the reigning NFL MVP.”
Not necessarily due to Carolina’s struggles, Newton has been placed under the microscope thus far this season. He missed a game earlier in the year to a concussion and recently suggested he wants to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over concerns about player’ safety.
Wow. Cam Newton said he plans on talking to Commissioner Goodell about late hits. Says he doesn't "feel safe" anymore. Says its "bullcrap"
— Conor Orr (@ConorOrr) October 30, 2016
The NFL as a whole drew a ton of criticism after Newton was treated like a rag doll during the Panthers’ season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos. It was shocking to see Denver lay what seemed to be multiple late hits on Newton without being called for a penalty.
This likely set into motion Newton’s hesitance as it relates to feeling safe on the field.
Gilbert has a point regarding Newton’s style of play. He also has a point when it comes to how much Big Ben is hit and how little he complains about it.
Still, it’s hard to contest Newton’s stance here. He has been hit late more than any other quarterback in the NFL. And in reality, it surely is impacting Newton’s health.
If it is the quarterback putting a target on is back with his outlandish celebrations, that’s one thing. But that shouldn’t give opposing defenses the right to continually batter him after the play is over. That’s a ridiculous conclusion to draw.