Former Steelers WR Eli Rogers Thanks Ben Roethlisberger For Years Of Support

The XFL is set to kick off in just a bit under a month from now, and when it does, it will be pretty lacking in star power—as should go without saying for a non-NFL football league. The stars play in the NFL. That’s just the way it is, and probably the way it will be for quite a while. The XFL obviously has plans to change that, but they have to start off on the ground floor.

They will be doing so with some names we will recognize as former members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, including Eli Rogers, who played five seasons in Pittsburgh, albeit with two of them spent predominantly on injured reserve for the PUP list.

Scheduled to play for the DC Defenders as the league gets underway next month, Rogers, a former undrafted free agent, compiled a career 78 receptions with 822 yards and four touchdowns. He was released during the final roster cuts prior to the start of the 2019 season, thus spending the year out of football.

On Twitter yesterday, he recalled that time that he was released, and reflected upon his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whom he said called him up soon after he learned the news that his friend did not make the roster.

He wrote that Roethlisberger told him he was shocked that Rogers had not made the team, and that he would never have expected it because of how good of a player he views the receiver to be, and that he would love to play with him again.

Instead of Rogers, the Steelers elected to keep Ryan Switzer, who was their starting return man, initially keeping special teamer Johnny Holton on the practice squad before quickly turning around and promoting him to the 53-man roster as well.

Even after Donte Moncrief was injured, and then benched, and then released, the team never called Rogers. Instead, they eventually signed Deon Cain off of the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad. He played little, but had some significant moments.

On Twitter, Rogers went on to thank Roethlisberger for his support over the years, calling him “a genuine person” who was there for him throughout the years, particularly as a younger player needing guidance.

Unlike the AAF, when players sign a contract to participate in the XFL, it is binding. Nevertheless, I’m sure many who sign up are viewing it as a stepping stone back to the ‘big show’ after getting an opportunity to showcase their talents.

I know a handful of you tuned in to the AAF when possible, particularly following the Birmingham Iron, whom I tried to cover. I’m sure several of you will be following the XFL as well, and the former Steelers who are in the league, and we will be covering it when appropriate once things get underway.

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