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Pittsburgh native T.J. McConnell: Childhood encounter with Ben Roethlisberger made me root for Bengals

Sixers guard T.J. McConnell

Philadelphia 76ers guard T.J. McConnell was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., so it’s pretty surprising that he rooted for the Cincinnati Bengals for a time.

Most folks who are Pittsburgh born and raised are Steelers faithful all the way. And that was true for McConnell, too…for a time. At least until he had an encounter with Ben Roethlisberger when the Sixers guard was still in sixth grade.

Speaking with the guys on the “Dan Patrick Show” Tuesday morning after sparking Philly’s big win Monday night over Boston, McConnell opened up about the experience.

“I respect him as a player, but he wasn’t exactly the nicest guy,” McConnell said. “But he was being bombarded by people, so I understand.”

He went on to say he tried to get an autograph but that Roethlisberger wasn’t having it. The entire experience caused him to root for the Bengals for a time, though he’s back to being a Steelers fan these days.