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Ben Roethlisberger Discusses Dealing With Roster Cuts On New Podcast

In the first episode of his new Footbahlin podcast, former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked about the process of going through cuts and whether or not you could tell when a player was going to be cut.

“Every once in a while, you’ll be like alright, he’s gone. And sometimes it’s just as simple as, ok, you look and you count numbers,” Roethlisberger said. “And there are the shockers, you’re like ok, that guy’s gonna make it. And he doesn’t, you’re like what, why would they cut him? What are they doing?”

Ultimately though, Roethlisberger said there needs to be trust in the front office.

“You gotta trust, I guess, that they know. But it can be frustrating at times, especially when guys you know and you want to make it.”

Pittsburgh had a surprise cut this preseason when outside linebacker Genard Avery was cut when the Steelers trimmed their roster down to 80 guys from 85. During Roethlisberger’s career, there were definitely some notable cuts that may have been a little bit surprising to the locker room. In 2013, James Harrison was realized due to salary cap reasons and in 2015, the team released defensive end Brett Keisel, although he was eventually brought back.

As a player, those surprise cuts can be a lot more irksome because they’re the guys who are out on the field with you every day, and if there’s a player who you believe makes the team better and he ultimately doesn’t make the team, it can erode some trust between the players and staff and front office. That’s why it’s important, as Roethlisberger says, to just trust in what’s happening with the front office and the general manager at the end of the day.

And that’s not to say that the front office won’t make mistakes, because they absolutely can. However, getting too worked up over one or two particular cuts can only lead to bad things and hurt the relationship between players and staff. Pittsburgh’s always been an organization that’s been built on stability, and if relationships begin to erode then that stability is going to be threatened. As a result, the front office and staff have to be able to trust the players and vice versa.

Roethlisberger also mentioned a surprise cut that involved one of his friends on the team. As a veteran player, you’re bound to see friends come and go from the organization for one reason or another, but that’s the cost of doing business in the NFL. At the end of the day, as cold as it sounds, the NFL is a business and each team is going to make the business decisions that suit them best, and that will involve players losing friends to other teams and retirement. Roethlisberger also talked about encouraging those veteran players who may have been cut.

“You just gotta kind of encourage them that, listen, don’t give up. You know like, ‘hey, there’s a chance you put stuff on tape. Especially if you’re a semi-vet guy that you’ve played with in the past, which I’ve had a few veteran guys that I’ve played with that have been cut, and you’re like, you’ll be okay, if someone doesn’t pick you up they’re nuts.”

Cuts are an unfortunate reality of life in the NFL. Each year, it’s a tough time for the players, coaches and staff members involved. A cut can end a career, but also can give a player an opportunity he may not have had otherwise. Still, it’s a tough business, and these comments from Roethlisberger show how hard it can be even for a guy who never really had to worry about his spot on the team.

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