Steelers News

Big Ben Plays Host To Group Of Teammates On His Boat In Bonding Trip

While a pair of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ most individually accomplished skill position players in team history are at the center of some drama with their new teams, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spent yesterday gathering his current skill players for some quality bonding time together.

Per the social media accounts of running back James Conner and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster—Pro Bowlers in their second seasons in 2018, and the ones who are or will be replacing Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, respectively—Roethlisberger had about 10 or so of his teammates out on his boat yesterday, including, among others, the aforementioned, Ryan Switzer, Donte Moncrief, and Xavier Grimble.

Roethlisberger has been under fire this offseason, or at least was, stemming from criticism that Brown and Bell made of him and his leadership skills. I can’t help but wonder if he asked his teammates about their significant others and kids.

The quarterback actually has a long history of treating his teammates—often the offensive line in particular—to a variety of gifts, whether in the form of physical products or in outings such as this, opportunities to simply get together and bond.

But because it doesn’t always get talked about and written up in articles, his detractors prefer to assume that such things don’t happen. If his teammates didn’t post these videos on social media, then we wouldn’t even know about it.

This might not seem like a significant thing, but it is in light of everything that the team, and particularly Roethlisberger, has gone through this offseason. This is the ‘business as usual’ that we don’t normally see, and we also see him with Moncrief and Switzer, for example, two of the teammates with whom he has the least time invested.

Truth be told, I didn’t really try to eye specifically who was on the boat. I don’t know if, for example, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, or Zach Gentry were along for the ride. Perhaps they were, perhaps not. Perhaps they had other things going on. The rookies in particularly may have other commitments. I wouldn’t focus on who’s not there, though.

Roethlisberger just got a big, fat signing bonus after agreeing to a new two-year, $68 million contract extension last month, so he certainly has plenty of spending cash to blow on a bonding trip with his teammates right now.

Hopefully this serves as a nice segue into the start of OTAs, which will kick off on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see what the attendance will be like this year. Roethlisberger was there for the start of OTAs in 2018 but then missed most of the rest, citing a scheduling conflict with a planned family vacation. We’ll see if there are any scheduling conflicts this year.

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