Cam Heyward is not here for your Ben Roethlisberger slander. In no uncertain terms, he made it clear he fully supports Roethlisberger returning as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback in 2021 and made it sound like there’s no other guy he’d rather have leading the team’s offense. Heyward spoke with reporters during the first day of Steelers’ OTAs, one well-attended despite the Steelers’ statement weeks ago of boycotting the event. Here’s what Heyward had to say about Roethlisberger. He made his feelings crystal clear.
“I think we’re just blowing it out of proportion,” Heyward said in a Zoom call provided by the team Tuesday. “The dude went 11-0 to start the season. How many other quarterbacks did that? We can sit up here and talk about, we lost the game last year. We lost the Cleveland Browns. Okay, so be it, we fell off at the end. We still made the playoffs. I’m not here to say my quarterback’s not able to do it. I’ve seen this guy win Super Bowls on TV. I’ve seen him day in and day out compete.”
Roethlisberger played well through that undefeated stretch despite largely not having any semblance of a running game and tasked of putting the whole offense on his shoulders. The first win over the Baltimore Ravens was a great example. Down 17-7 at the half, the Steelers threw the ball almost exclusively in the second half, Roethlisberger leading the team to a 28-24 comeback victory. His go-ahead touchdown came at the end of a nine play drive, all passes, that resulted in an eight-yard score to Chase Claypool.
Still, the end to the season was sour, for Roethlisberger and the rest of the team, leading many in the national media to believe it was time for the Steelers to move on. Heyward said it’s been frustrating to listen to all the criticism.
“You just get frustrated because I know Ben puts in work and I know how much he cares about this team. If he didn’t want to do it and if he was just here for the money, that’s one thing. And I don’t think you ever have to worry about that. When he steps in that building, he’s 100% dedicated.”
Roethlisberger attended the first day of voluntary workouts. He’s reportedly been training at the team facility for at least several days before taking the field on Tuesday for OTAs.
Heyward went on to say he didn’t appreciate hearing some call Roethlisberger a washed up quarterback and looking towards the future of young, emerging quarterbacks in the league.
“When I hear the bad mouthing about him being not a great quarterback and then everybody’s ready to elevate other quarterbacks, I’m like, ‘what have they done?’ This guy is a proven winner but yet we’re ready to discount him.”
Roethlisberger has attended three Super Bowls, winning two, and should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s also the last of the “Big Three” of the 2004 QB class that included him, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning.
Credit to Heyward for sticking up for his quarterback. Because there aren’t too many outside of that building willing to do it. Hopefully Heyward and the rest of the team can rise up and rally in what could be Roethlisberger’s final season in the league.