It’s a monthly tradition during the regular season for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to say something that draws criticism for not ‘keeping it in-house’, or for a similar line of thinking. I don’t really tend to have many problems with the things that he says, though he could certainly be more selective if he chose. Of course he chooses not to.
And Mark Kaboly got him to explain why a couple of months ago, which he shared recently on Twitter in light of the firestorm that his post-draft comments drew. Roethlisberger expressed confusion over the team’s decision to draft a quarterback after telling them he felt he could play for three to five more years, and wondered if that “screwed up” by drafting a quarterback in the previous year as well.
Kaboly, now writing for The Athletic, asked the veteran quarterback why he always feels the need to be honest. “You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t”, he began his response; and of course he’s not wrong.
Asked Ben Roethlisberger a couple months back about why he speaks his mind so much publicly in a profession that sees so many either not answer truthfully or flat-out lie. His response …… pic.twitter.com/oW8kzqQniv
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 9, 2018
“When we don’t answer the questions, we are scrutinized because we are beating around the bush. When we are honest, we are scrutinized for being too honest. It’s like you can’t win anyway”, Roethlisberger said.
That’s not to say there isn’t a balance to walk between being too open and too closed. Roethlisberger just chooses to ignore the line and walk on the side on which he’s more comfortable. That’s a fair choice for him to make, but he also must understand and accept the consequences that come from it.
And to be clear, not all of the criticism that he has received is actually a product of people thinking that he should have kept some thoughts to himself. Sometimes his comments reflect a lack of perspective, most recently by his seeming inability to comprehend the organization’s thinking in drafting Mason Rudolph.
It’s all fine and well that Roethlisberger feels like he can play several more years. But he’s 36 years old and spent about half of last season playing like most 36-year-olds would. And he has toyed with retirement before, while continuing to maintain that he is going to reevaluate every year.
He can’t guarantee that he won’t retire within the next three to five years. He can’t guarantee that he will still be playing at a high level in three to five years. He can’t guarantee that he will still be healthy in three to five years. That’s why they took a quarterback that fell to them in the third round that they graded as a first-round talent. Still, there is some merit to Roethlisberger’s position to being open that I do appreciate.
“If I can give the fans some insight and let them know what’s going on, I think that’s cool”, he said. “That’s why I’m not afraid to say things on my radio show because I think that’s important. When the fans tune in and hear that, I want to believe that fans say, wow, Ben is real, he’s a real player. He’s not just a Steeler. He’s a real person”.