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Big Ben’s Big Problem With Tight End Report Was About Teammates’ Trust

It was a few days ago that NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala issued a report live from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ facility dropping multiple news bombs in quick succession during her two-minute segment, but only one of them, seemingly, rattled Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. And it rattled him enough to go to Pro Football Talk to issue a statement of refutation.

The reporter claimed that Roethlisberger was making a plea for the Steelers to draft a tight end in this draft class, which, if we are evaluating the roster and the incoming rookies objectively, is already a distinct possibility.

But the future Hall of Famer took issue with the notion that he was pushing for more weapons at his disposal, not because he felt it made him look bad—at least I suspect—or even because it was untrue, but rather, I believe, because of how strongly he believes in his relationship with his teammates, which is a relationship that is built on trust.

Whether or not Roethlisberger actually believes behind closed doors that the Steelers need to add more weapons, the bottom line is that he doesn’t want teammates such as Jesse James or Sammie Coates thinking that he is losing confidence in him. And the truth is that Roethlisberger’s seeming undying confidence in his playmakers is a hallmark of how his offense is run.

We have seen it play out time and time again over the years. He has never shied away from working with a younger, more experienced target. It wasn’t long before he developed a rapport with a sixth-rounder from 2010 by the name of Antonio Brown, entrusting him with a third-and-long bomb in a desperate situation in the playoffs of his rookie season.

But of more recent vintage, Roethlisberger makes it a point to demonstrate that he believes in his players. When one of them drops a pass or fumbles, he makes sure to go back right to them, often on the very next opportunity. James, Coates, and Eli Rogers can all attest to that.

I really think this is why more than anything Roethlisberger chose to take the rare step to actually take the time out to issue a refutation of that NFL Network report, because I don’t think there is anybody in the world who actually thinks it was necessary on an objective level.

But maybe he thought it was necessary when it comes to the level of trust and faith that he strives to share between his counterparts and himself. While he may not have always been the greatest teammate, for example, he has probably had his offensive line’s back more than any other quarterback I can think of.

Who’s laughing now? Not Roethlisberger, not when he thinks his credibility is in jeopardy when he touts his faith in the weapons he has around him, and that is what it may have looked like to him when the report came out that he was pushing for a new piece to finish the puzzle.

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