The 2019 NFL annual meetings are getting underway this week in Phoenix, Arizona and Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is once again present for them and even talked to select members of the media Sunday evening. While Colbert didn’t have anything earth-shattering to say on Sunday, he did address a few key topics related to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
First, Colbert indicated that while the Steelers organization has yet to be able to sign Roethlisberger to a contract extension this offseason, talks between the two sides are still ongoing, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network.
“This is probably his last contract as an NFL player, so it’s significant” – to the player and club,” Colbert reportedly said Sunday evening.
The #Steelers contract talks w/ Ben Roethlisberger are “still ongoing,” GM Kevin Colbert said. “This is probably his last contract as an NFL player, so it’s significant” – to the player and club, he said.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 24, 2019
Colbert’s comments aren’t a bit surprising and especially with the team being unable to sign Roethlisberger to a contract extension prior to his $5 million roster bonus being due just a few days into the new league year. At this point, the two sides have the rest of the offseason to get a contract extension hammered out. The only drawback to waiting longer is that fellow NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers could both beat Roethlisberger to the proverbial altar and thus make negotiations between the Steelers and their franchise quarterback a bit tougher depending on what those other contracts look like.
When it comes to all of the offseason criticism that Roethlisberger has received so far this offseason from several former teammates, Colbert, as you would probably expect, has tuned most of it out.
Colbert reportedly said Sunday that he and the per Kinkhabwala.organization feel the recent public chatter regarding Roethlisberger and the quarterback’s locker room personality is all just “white noise,”
“I have not spoken to (Ben) since the end of the season. I don’t think that will bother him,” Colbert said per steelers.com. “I think Ben is very comfortable with who he is, what he’s done, and what he can still do. I don’t think it will affect him because each and every year he’s out there trying to prove who he is and he’ll have no agenda other than trying to win a Super Bowl. You know what, you can’t dictate what someone will say, either when they’re with you or when they leave. But we feel comfortable knowing that Ben Roethlisberger is our quarterback and is our leader. Ben unquestionably is a top quarterback in this league. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s won Super Bowls. I know he’s comfortable with that, we’re comfortable with that, and we’re always going to support him in that role.”
Once again, Colbert’s reaction to the offseason criticism Roethlisberger has received isn’t a bit surprising. I’m sure Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will come out in support of his quarterback when he meets the media this coming week at the league’s annual meeting.
At some point, Roethlisberger will finally address the media and that should be an interesting question and answer session as he’s sure to be asked to react to several offseason quotes from a few of his now former teammates.