While Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has only participated in two of the team’s eight on-the-field OTA practices in 2018 so far, his former offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, said earlier this week in a radio interview that his absence really should be considered a big deal.
“I think they’re extremely important for young players and young teams,” Arians said this past Friday about OTAs during an interview on 93.7 The Fan. “When you’ve been together as long as they have, it’s great really for the younger guys to get those reps. Because if he [Roethlisberger] was there, he was going to get the reps and I just think it’s fantastic for those young players to get those reps and watch that team grow.”
Arians and Roethlisberger have forever been close and they still seemingly spend time visiting with each other during the offseason to at least get a round of golf in. On Friday, Arians was asked to comment on Roethlisberger and him seemingly still being on top of his game despite now being in his mid thirties.
“We played golf a couple of weeks ago and I don’t know if he’s ever been in better shape,” Arians said. “He looks fantastic. [He’s] really excited about everything with Randy [Fichtner] and then the offense and the weapons he’s got. Every year I usually play golf at this time and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any more excited about getting ready to go.”
One the main reason that Roethlisberger might seem more excited to play this offseason than in previous offseasons is probably related to Todd Haley being replaced by Randy Fichtner as the team’s offensive coordinator several months ago. You didn’t need to be rocket scientist to figure out that Roethlisberger’s relationship with Haley wasn’t great the last few years. Arians, in fact, all but confirmed the obvious during his radio interview.
“You know, if you’re gonna retire, and now all of sudden you’re gonna play five years, I think everything speaks for itself,” said Arians, who wanted to leave that quote at that in regard to Roethlisberger’s relationship with Haley.
Arians, who retired from coaching after the 2017 season and is now set to be a broadcast analyst for CBS in 2018, looks forward to now being the one able to question the decisions made by other NFL coaches during games.
“I went from idiot to genius,” Arians said on Friday. “I can’t be wrong now. I get to second-guess and say, ‘Why the hell did he call that play.'”
Despite how everything went down between Arians and Steelers several years ago, that included the team saying he was retiring instead of saying they no longer wanted him to be the offensive coordinator, he made it clear on Friday that time has helped him get pass a lot of what transpired after the 2011 season.
“Time heals all kinds of things, you know,” Arians said. “I look back and had I not had what happened to me, I would’ve never became a head coach. So, I was more than thankful and time heals some wounds at times.”