As Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL career has come to a close, the memories of his playing days haven’t. T.J. Watt is enjoying Pro Bowl week in Las Vegas after his incredible 22.5-sack season.
Sadly, 2022 will be the first time the Steelers head into the season without Roethlisberger as their quarterback in nearly 20 years. Watt had this to say on SiriusXM NFL Radio when asked about what he’ll miss most about Roethlisberger.
“Oh man, I remember my first 7-on-7 against Ben,” Watt said in the audio via SiriusXM. “And that was kind of the ‘welcome to the NFL’ moment. [I] just got lined up in the wrong position. He was like ‘Hey, 90, you’re supposed to be here, covering the flat.’ I’m like, ‘oh you know what I have?’ And I don’t even know what I have. So just little things that I’m gonna miss.”
Roethlisberger was notorious for extending plays and his very good deep ball, but his leadership and knowledge of the game were always underrated. A lot of the Hall of Fame quarterbacks, like the Tom Brady’s and Peyton Manning’s of the world, have command of the whole field and know what will happen on the next play. Roethlisberger was one of those and it’s a testament to his football IQ and the work he put into studying film.
Watt came into the league in 2017, spending five seasons on the same team as the Hall of Fame quarterback. While Roethlisberger will obviously be missed, it’s stories like this that are nice to hear post-retirement.
“[He was] just so competitive. Every day in practice, [he was] always talking smack. He still had some zip on his arm too and was making some good throws towards the end there.”
Competitive. That’s a word that often stands out from people who played with or against Roethlisberger. As for the Steelers next quarterback, competitiveness is a much-needed attribute. Najee Harris recently stated, “I want a competitor [at quarterback,]” before proceeding to list Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, and Jimmy Garoppolo as possible options.
Watt’s expectation for 2022 after his sack numbers this season? “We need to win more games. That’s for sure number one.”
It’s no wonder a guy like Watt is a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. While his performance on the field is clearly a large reason why, but he’s developed into a true blue-collar Yinzer. This past season’s performance even coming after collecting over $100 million from the Steelers.