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Ben Roethlisberger On Whether He’ll Still Critique Teammates Publicly: ‘I’m Just Going To Be Me’

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ storyline for the offseason has been so well-defined as it relates to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that the questions that he is going to be asked in any interview leading up to the start of the season before any actual football is played are predictable. That includes the interview that he did recently with Andrea Kremer airing in parts, the first of which was shown last night.

Naturally, he was asked about Antonio Brown. And he was also asked about his leadership and leadership style via public critique. Roethlisberger was attacked from seemingly all sides back in February and March with people coming out of the woodwork to question his ability to lead and what kind of teammate he is. There are still scattershots of criticism you’ll see, but it’s died down for the most part.

In the interview with Kremer, she prefaced her question about leadership through critique by setting it up around Roethlisberger’s team-building trip to his Georgia lakehouse. Surrounding the topic with the camaraderie he must have built with his new teammates allowed her to create a contrast for the quarterback to answer for.

“Because of the relationship that you think you’ve developed with these younger guys”, she asked, “would it make you less inclined to want to publicly be critical of any of these guys?”.

The question is obviously referencing an interview that Roethlisberger gave following a loss to the Denver Broncos last season during his weekly radio show, during which he told his hosts that he talked to Brown after throwing a game-ending red-zone interception that he needed to run his route flatter in the end zone. He also called out then-rookie James Washington for his struggles, highlighted by a dropped ball on a deep pass, which he left his feet unnecessarily to try to secure.

To his credit, Roethlisberger avoided taking the bait, though he did previously say that he wishes he would not have said what he said about Brown, if only because it “ruined a friendship”. That prompted Brown to respond by saying that they were never friends and that he should “shut up already”.

“I’m just going to be me”, Roethlisberger said in answering Kremer’s inquiry. “I know that being a leader is about winning football games, and I’ve done a lot of that. ultimately, it’s about getting to the playoffs and winning a championship, and we didn’t do that last year, so obviously I wasn’t a good enough leader last year, so I’m going to do what I can to be the best leader I can and try to get us back to the postseason”.

Of course, there’s a false equivalency in there. Winning doesn’t make you a great leader, and being a great leader doesn’t mean you’re going to win. Good leadership helps lead to wins, and the ideal is to have both, but it’s ultimately how you lead that determines your leadership quality, not wins and losses. After all, he would be the first to admit he wasn’t a good leader when they were winning early in his career.

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