One of the great motivators for never reading a mainstream book seems to be the ability to avoid the necessity of a media tour, as evidenced by former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher’s recent interview blitz. Surely he’s getting tired of answering the same questions and discussing the same topics.
For example, would you believe that he was the coach of the Steelers when they drafted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? The two are inextricably linked. Whenever the former is interviewed, the latter inevitably comes up, as do the questions about his future.
Cowher was recently on ESPN, and he said that, when push comes to shove, he believes that this will probably be Roethlisberger’s last season. Last week, though, he also discussed Roethlisberger’s mindset, and why he’s even coming back at all.
“I think for Ben, two years ago when he missed that whole season, you don’t realize how much you miss something until you don’t have it, and I think when he came back last year, he came back and he realized, wow, he’s only got so many years left of football, and he wanted to embrace every moment of it, and I think that’s where he’s at now”, he told 93.7 The Fan last week.
“He didn’t want to go out with that loss he had to Cleveland. They had that great start, but they kind of limped down to the finish”, he continued. “I think Ben is gonna be one of those guys, he’s a great competitor, he loves to compete, he loves to play the game, so it does not surprise me that he’s back, and I think he’s just basically gonna take it one year at a time”.
Roethlisberger is 39 this season and coming off of one of his least-efficient, yet productive, seasons. He averaged well under seven yards per pass attempt, which is highly concerning, yet he posted among his best touchdown and interception rates of his entire career, with a 33-10 split, tied for his largest differential of plus-23.
The unspoken part of this conversation is that it simply may not be up to Roethlisberger whether or not he continues to play, at least in Pittsburgh. The Steelers had to make a decision this year regarding his continued employment. It perhaps came down to him taking a $5 million pay cut.
Roethlisberger’s been a one-year-at-a-time guy for more than half a decade now. When you get to that point, you know you’re closer to the end than even you yourself might realize or are willing to acknowledge to yourself.