The Pittsburgh Steelers are entering their second extended break of the offseason, the first of course being the time between the end of their previous season and the start of the new league year months later. This one is shorter, however, and hopefully much less eventful.
In spite of the fact that they didn’t even qualify for the postseason, the Steelers were the most talked about team in the league while the playoffs were going on, with then-current teammates even throwing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under the bus. That prompted a parade of former teammates to chime in and throw out their two cents as well.
All through that, however, Roethlisberger kept his peace publicly before finally giving an interview on the eve of OTAs in order to try to burst the bubble—or more like a monsoon—of questions that he would get the first time reporters could get a recorder in his face.
His leadership was questioned. His character was questioned. His ego. Everything. And he just had to take it. “Yeah, it wasn’t easy”, he said on SiriusXM yesterday. But, “to stay quiet, I just felt like it was the right thing to do”.
“It’s tough when people talk negatively about you and your family, and what you work so hard to do, but at the end of the day it’s about the guys that are here in our locker room and that are here to win a championship”, Roethlisberger went on. “And that’s what I’m here to do, and that’s what guys that are in our locker room are here to do. At the end of the day, it’s about those guys and giving them my all”.
Most of this was in the fallout from the dissolution of his and the team’s relationship with former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, of course. Brown even got the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis involved, both of whom have a history with or aspiration to making power play moves themselves, in a sport even more geared toward the individual.
Roethlisberger was asked if there was anything that he would have done differently, upon reflection, with how the season ended with Brown. Nope”, was his answer. “It is what it is” was about as much as he would offer when pressed. “I’m just gonna stay focused and grounded on my faith and my family and my teammates. That’s my main focus, so I’m pretty happy with how my offseason went”.
In truth, there really isn’t a good answer he could have given to that question. When he apologized to Brown during his pre-OTAs interview, he got roasted for that, so it really doesn’t matter if he offers some kind of mea culpa, because it’s not going to be accepted by those who already have an issue with him. And the others are long past caring.