New Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron has already played with a few great NFL quarterbacks so far in his career in Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck and now he’s really excited for the opportunity to play with another one in Ben Roethlisberger. During a recent online video interview with Missi Matthews of steelers.com, Ebron’s excitement about now being able to play with Roethlisberger was very easy to see.
“I know a lot of people on the team, but really Big Ben was like the vocal point of everything,” Ebron said. “So, I’m excited to play with him because I’ve always loved Big Ben. Like back in the day, like one of my old coaches was a huge Steelers fan, one of my high school coaches, and I used to always hang out with him so we’re always watching the Steelers game. And I’ve always been fascinated with big Ben.”
Ebron already knows his Roethlisberger history and how he likes to throw to tight ends when possibly. After all, of the 4,651 passes that Roethlisberger has completed so far during his career, 871 (18.7%) of them have gone to tight ends. And of his 363 career passing touchdowns, 77 (21.2%) of them have gone to tight ends. He admitted recently that he’s already been in communication with Roethlisberger since he signed with the Steelers
“I hope to be that safety blanket, that go-to, that loved tight end that everybody wants,” said Ebron, according to an interview with Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “That is all you hear. That Ben loves his tight end. It’s going to be pretty cool to see what we can do together. I have been texting him asking him as many questions as I can as early as I can. I want to pick his brain. If I can be his best friend and we can think the same, good things happen. That is really all I am trying to do.”
Ebron now joins a Steelers tight end room that includes veteran Vance McDonald and Zach Gentry, who was drafted by the team last year in the fifth-round. While the production from the tight end position last season wasn’t close to being where it needed to be, Ebron doesn’t feel any pressure on himself to be the one to get that positional production back to where it should be because he knows the circumstances related to why there was a drop last season.
“Like your guys were dealing with multiple quarterbacks and coming from a similar scenario where you lose your number one quarterback, and not saying that the guy behind your number one isn’t good, he’s just not the number one quarterback,” Ebron said. “So, obviously production might be a little bit lower because it’s various equations or whatever problems that go on within that situation. But I believe this tight end room is great. I thought Vance was a heck of a tight end.”
More than anything else, Ebron believes the Steelers tight end room will thrive in 2020 mainly due to Roethlisberger being back on the field again. That’s another reason why Ebron’s not feeling any pressure to be the savior of the Steelers tight end room moving forward.
“So, I’m just happy to play alongside Vance because I know that if we could get into multiple tight end sets and do damage and create problems and take people out of coverages, then it’d be perfect, Ebron said. “And again, if Big Ben is ready to play, which we all are excited about, the sky’s the limit for our room. So, I believe in our room. I don’t think it adds any pressure to me. I think it’s going to be, how good can we really be? That’s really how I think about it.”
Ebron arrives in Pittsburgh having already registered 283 receptions for 3,195 yards and 37 touchdowns in his first six NFL seasons of which the last two were spent with the Indianapolis Colts. In 2018, Ebron had a career season playing with Luck as he caught 66 passes for 750 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns. He’s now looking to have that sort of fun and success in 2020 as a member of the Steelers.
“We will have fun,” Ebron told Matthews. “They’ll be big plays and there’ll be celebrations. It will be wins and we’ll have a lot of fun doing it. So, I’m just excited to be there and play for such history, this organization is incredible. So, I’m just happy to really honestly be a part of it and have fun doing it.”