At a time during which we seem to be seeing a lot of second-generation players entering the league—just look at Joey Porter Jr., for example—it is interesting to get an insight into how some of the more recently retired players might feel.
Opinions will always vary in any sample size large enough, but it doesn’t sound as though former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is very interested in seeing his oldest son and namesake following in his footsteps.
Discussing the subject on the latest episode of his Footbahlin podcast, Roethlisberger said that while Ben Jr. is playing football now, he hopes that at some point he will grow tired of it, even if he won’t discourage his son from playing. And he’s more than fine with him preferring to play positions other than quarterback.
“I don’t think he wants to” play quarterback, he said, even though he supposedly has a good arm. “He wants to play, like, safety, corner…he wants to play defense for some reason. We’ll see whatever that looks like and what he wants to do with it and how long he does it”.
There are plenty of videos and photos over the years of Roethlisberger’s son heaving the ball. In fact, there is even one in which he is throwing a pass to one of Antonio Brown’s sons—you know, back when the father’s had a great rapport. When your dad is a Hall of Fame quarterback, there’s a good chance that at some point in your childhood you’re going to want to imitate him.
But what about as you get older? Attitudes change, and you find your own way. And Roethlisberger is on board with whatever comes. “I always said, I’m not gonna discourage it”, he said. Do I hope at some point he doesn’t want to play anymore? Sure”. But if he does pursue football, dad would just as well take a cornerback as a son than a quarterback.
“I would assume there’s gonna be pressure. I would assume people are gonna want him to play quarterback and assume that he’s gonna be good”, he said. “That’s why I’m okay with, if he wants to play, if he doesn’t play quarterback, even though he can throw it really well. Then I think there’s less pressure if he doesn’t play quarterback. If he plays quarterback then there’s always gonna be something like that. You think of the Mannings, things like that. I don’t know how you manage it”.
There are Peyton and Eli Manning, of course, the two NFL quarterback sons of Archie Manning. But there’s also Arch Manning, their nephew, the son of Cooper Manning, who never pursued an NFL career due to spinal stenosis. Arch, now 17, has had his progress closely monitored at every step of the way, with many expecting him to be the next quarter quarterback in the family.
Roethlisberger doesn’t want that kind of pressure for his son, but he’ll be there if that’s what course Benjamin Jr. decides to take. He’ll know all the pitfalls, for sure. Though if he ends up playing safety, there may only be so much he can do with his legs. On how to read a quarterback? Yeah, he might know a thing or two.