Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was about to turn 16 years of age when the team’s fourth-round draft pick this year, running back Benny Snell Jr., was born in Columbus, Ohio, roughly 100 miles from his own hometown of Finley, Ohio. While Roethlisberger probably didn’t know too much, if any, about Snell prior to the Steelers drafting him last week, the rookie running back obviously already knew quite a bit about the Pittsburgh quarterback well prior to last Saturday.
During a Friday interview on 93.7 The Fan, Snell was asked his thoughts on now being able to play with a probable future Hall of Famer in Roethlisberger and if he’ll need to first get over the awe-factor of having the opportunity to do so.
“That’s a great question,” Snell first replied. “That’s crazy because that’s what I think about. Like, I don’t want to be like a fanboy or be too excited around him because I’ve been watching Big Ben ever since I was a baby. And it’s crazy that I’m going to actually be getting handoffs from him. I don’t want to lose myself now that this is a business and fortunately I’m getting paid for what I do. Everything is going to be serious, everything is going to be love, but anytime we’re outside of practice, I’m going to let him know how much I admire him, how much of a a fan I was so I can be a sponge and I can learn from everything he says. But when I step in between those two lines, it’s all serious. So, that’s the time and place for this and that.”
Snell obviously probably isn’t the only rookie that feels that way this year as the same probably goes for the other offensive players drafted or signed as undrafted free agents this year, and especially the ones that have a great chance of sticking on the roster such as wide receiver Diontae Johnson and tight end Zach Gentry.
Roethlisberger is sure to give the newest Steelers offensive players some tough love right out of the chute and those that stick will certainly need to gain his trust. We saw this last season with rookie wide receiver James Washington as Roethlisberger wasn’t afraid to call out a few mistakes he had made during a few games while talking on his weekly radio show. On the flip side, however, we saw Roethlisberger pull aside and praise another of the team’s 2018 rookie draft class, running back Jaylen Samuels, after he scored in the team’s win over the Carolina Panthers.
Fortunately for Snell, he’ll have two other running backs closer to his own age to lean on and learn the ropes from in Samuels and James Conner. And while Snell might have to wait quite a while to to receive his first handoff from Roethlisberger in a practice, that moment is sure to happen at some point and I bet the Kentucky product won’t soon forget it and he sounds ready for the pressure that comes along with being the newest drafted backfield-mate of the quarterback’s.
“I felt like I was made to be a Steeler,” Snell said Friday. “It was just right. It feels right. This is my type of football and the fit was just perfect. I feel that I’ve been in a lot of situations, and the NFL is completely different, but I feel like I’ve had pressure on my shoulders on so many occasions that I became successful at the end of the game. Or I was able to get those tough yards, get the touchdown if needed, so I feel like whatever situation I’m put in, I’m going to try to give my best so we can have the best outcome.”