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If Steelers thrive without Ben, Byron may not be ready to step aside

leftwich_AP081019034883.widec.jpgOne of the points we’ve been making from time to time of late — and which appears prominently in our season preview magazine — arises from the mess that the Steelers are facing in Pittsburgh. 

If they do well without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, what will coach Mike Tomlin do once Ben returns?

Though Tomlin is keeping his cards sutured to his chest, the guy who seems to be in line to replace Roethlisberger had a chance today to declare an intention to step aside.

Appearing with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon of Sirius NFL Radio’s The Sirius Blitz, Byron Leftwich faced this question:  “You’re the quarterback for the Steelers. Pittsburgh goes 3-1 or 4-0.  Does Ben automatically get the job back [when he returns from suspension]?”

It’s a simple question, and the right answer likely is “yes,” or some variation thereof. 

Leftwich didn’t say “yes.”  Or any variation thereof.

“I don’t know,” Leftwich said. “That’s not a decision for me but that’s a good problem to have.  It’s a good problem to have and I’m quite sure he’ll say the same thing.  You want to go out there and, every chance you get, get a chance to win football games because we’re all in it for one thing.  We’re all trying to win football games and hopefully you can win a championship.

“So if that’s everybody’s mindset and that’s everybody’s plan I don’t really see that as an awkward situation.  I see that as a situation that’s good for the Pittsburgh Steelers and if it happens that way they’ll handle it the way they have to handle it.   But it’s not something that you really think about.  Man, it’s too hard in this league to be hypothetical, you know?  We’ve still got a long way to go and we’ll see what happens.”

Yep, it’s potentially going to get ugly if the Steelers thrive without Roethlisberger.

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65 Responses to “If Steelers thrive without Ben, Byron may not be ready to step aside”
  1. Ralph says: Jun 2, 2010 7:54 PM

    If the Steelers go 4-0 and Ben steps in, what do you do when they go 4-1? 4-2? 4-3? When do you step in? Do you step in and give it back to Byron?
    My guess is they’ll wait till Byron struggles. I don’t think they’ll have to wait that long.

  2. SantonioH10 says: Jun 2, 2010 7:54 PM

    Yeah, as a Steelers fan, I’d totally hate it if we played well and won 3-4 of the first four games without Ben. I’d much rather go 0-4 and be spared a QB controversy.

  3. this class sucks says: Jun 2, 2010 7:55 PM

    Coach Ben Tomlin wont be doing anything, he is attending Terry Bradshaw’s funeral.
    Of course he does. I know people want to make this an issue (by people I mean Florio) but you Ben is better than Leftwich. If the Steelers some how go 4-0 it wont be because of Leftwich. But lets say it is. Lets say he does great for 4 games. He isn’t getting paid enough to be the starter and Ben is getting paid too much to sit on the bench. Plus, no one doubts that Ben is a great QB. He isn’t going into the hall of fame for being a nice guy but he is a great QB and a great football player. Either way, judging by their schedule I would say Ben would only go 3-1 unless the defense plays above and beyond.

  4. heavyj39 says: Jun 2, 2010 7:55 PM

    As a Bengals fan I thought the Steelers offense looked much with Leftwich at the helm a few years ago. Especially now with Holmes no longer there which was Bens go to guy when the play broke down. I think the Steelers will be better in rhthym without Ben because Leftwich is a true timing drop back passer!!

  5. ppdoc13 says: Jun 2, 2010 7:56 PM

    I’d say it is unlikely that Leftwich is the long term answer even if they do well. He is so immobile and their OL is suspect. Much as I hate Ben for being a sexual predator, there is no question that the guy is a top tier QB. Leftwich was drafted to be one, but never panned out. The other issue is that Ben moves very well in the pocket and is a moose to bring down. Byron is like the Statue of Liberty and his throwing motion is about as slow as hers as well. I wish the Steelers nothing but failure as always, but I think that this post is truly a non-issue

  6. PAJoe says: Jun 2, 2010 7:58 PM

    The real question is going to be how much success they have running the ball. I don’t see where they upgraded the line or RB’s that much, so if that doesn’t happen, it will be BiG Ben running around and looking for the big play, as usual.
    Ben will be on his best behavior for awhile, then think it’s ok again to be the sexual deviant that he really is. He will have it hanging out of his pants before the season is over. He can’t stop, because normal sex isn’t good enough for him.

  7. marjo says: Jun 2, 2010 7:58 PM

    Fat Albert has proven that he cannot be a full-time starter for any team, let alone the Steelers.
    No chance he remains the starter after Ben’s return.

  8. stiller43 says: Jun 2, 2010 7:59 PM

    It’s potentially going to get so ugly that the Steelers might even end up 12-4! Oh no!
    And I know he didn’t straight out say that he would give the job right back to Ben, but don’t you want players to be competitive? I don’t see anything wrong with his response. He said the most accurate thing, that it was a great problem for the (6 time SB Champs) Pittsburgh Steelers to have. (And it is)

  9. DanRooney says: Jun 2, 2010 7:59 PM

    Because beating Atlanta, Tennessee, and Tampa Bay will be great accomplishments. Ben couldn’t possibly beat any of them. Especially with scrubs like Polamalu and Aaron Smith back.

  10. Citizen Strange says: Jun 2, 2010 8:03 PM

    Man, it’s too hard in this league to be hypothetical, you know? We’ve still got a long way to go and we’ll see what happens.
    Actually, that’s an almost perfect answer.

  11. Weegie Thompson says: Jun 2, 2010 8:07 PM

    right now…the Steelers w/o B-Roeth is like “cornflakes without the milk”…shout out to Oran “Juice” Jones.

  12. chino0411 says: Jun 2, 2010 8:07 PM

    i love the fact that he didn’t just say – yes, this is ben’s team and i’m just keeping the seat warm. –
    leftwich is a very competitive guy and will do anything to win so why shouldn’t he believe that a good run should be able to restart a career that has leveled off over the last few seasons.

  13. SterilizeTHenry says: Jun 2, 2010 8:07 PM

    Byron Leftwich is going to take the job of a two-time SB winning, pro bowl QB? Isn’t this the same Byron Leftwich who couldn’t even keep a job in Tampa Bay, where he was competing with a rookie and a couple journeymen?

  14. funi says: Jun 2, 2010 8:08 PM

    Steelers will go 3-1 with Leftwich, then gets hurt, Ben leads Steelers to yet another Super Bowl championship and all the haters will cry fowl again!

  15. Vicente Bastardo says: Jun 2, 2010 8:09 PM

    Sometimes I enjoy when you grasp at strings to make something bigger than it is–but come on, Byron couldn’t have given a more politically correct answer than that even if he hired a PR firm or an attorney to write that for him.
    There is absolutely NOTHING from that statement that could be interpreted as you say. Stop forcing headlines.

  16. silverback says: Jun 2, 2010 8:13 PM

    Coach Tomlin has already said definitively that Ben will be the starter as soon as he’s eligible. Good job trying to stir up a QB controversy where there is none Foolio.

  17. flake13 says: Jun 2, 2010 8:16 PM

    He threw for 4,000 yards last year, despite missing a game. He completed almost 70% of his passes. Evey year he’s in the top 2 or 3 in yards per completion.
    Screw the rhythm, just give me the yards, touchdowns and trophies!

  18. vanhelsing says: Jun 2, 2010 8:17 PM

    florio dont get yer knickers in a twist or get yer taint tainted…
    leftwich will suck as usual because he does. captain telegraph? the young statue of liberty? is slower now.
    ben may be rusty at football by october but he will be welcomed back, whenever.

  19. myspaceyourface says: Jun 2, 2010 8:17 PM

    Ben is a franchise QB.
    If Byron was a franchise QB the Jags and T.B. wouldn’t have let him go.

  20. aikmanhasatroutmouth says: Jun 2, 2010 8:19 PM

    Leftwich thriving………..that’d be a first!

  21. jediwrstlr says: Jun 2, 2010 8:22 PM

    Why is it, that whenever a story about the Steelers is on this site it is Florio who writes it? And, this really isn’t news, its more of an atempt to stir things up.
    Great idea for your next piece, find the name of the girl Ben allegedly assaulted in GA. News writters said they would not realease her name, because they dont release names of sexual assault victims. Since no charges were filed, she isnt a victim, release her name and start draging her name through the mud like this site did to Big Ben.

  22. jediwrstlr says: Jun 2, 2010 8:23 PM

    Why is it, that whenever a story about the Steelers is on this site it is Florio who writes it? And, this really isn’t news, its more of an atempt to stir things up.
    Great idea for your next piece, find the name of the girl Ben allegedly assaulted in GA. News writters said they would not realease her name, because they dont release names of sexual assault victims. Since no charges were filed, she isnt a victim, release her name and start draging her name through the mud like this site did to Big Ben.

  23. Just JTO says: Jun 2, 2010 8:24 PM

    Florio, what did Leftwich say that could cause a controversy? He said the politically right thing. As always with you, there is no story and you try to fabricate one. When you look purely at on-the-field ability, Leftwich can’t compare to Roelisberger. He is a good backup. Hell, he lost the job to a no-name guy in Tampa last year. There is no way you bench Roethlisberger no matter what happens in those four games.
    You can write that down. When Ben comes back he starts.Guaranteed.

  24. Dave3258 says: Jun 2, 2010 8:26 PM

    There will not be a quarterback issue to deal with period . If the Steelers are 0-4 or 4-0 , Byron will step aside and Ben will take over just as if he never left . The Steelers didnt pay this guy one hundred million dollars two years ago to stand on the sideline . In addition , hes won two Super Bowls in the last five years . He will start , count on it .

  25. ArtModellsPimp says: Jun 2, 2010 8:26 PM

    Either way, the Steelers will end up dead last in the AFCN…

  26. silverback says: Jun 2, 2010 8:26 PM

    Oh, and all the reports from the OTA’s from ESPN and Pittsburgh sports media say that Roethlisberger, rust and all, is clearly light years better than any other QB on the roster.
    Keep flinging poo Florio. It’s all a monkey like you can do.

  27. Omega says: Jun 2, 2010 8:30 PM

    SantonioH10 says:
    June 2, 2010 7:54 PM
    Yeah, as a Steelers fan, I’d totally hate it if we played well and won 3-4 of the first four games without Ben. I’d much rather go 0-4 and be spared a QB controversy.
    On first thought I would think that this must be satire.
    But then it is from a Squeerler fan. So I have to take it at face value. (They have no sense of sense…)
    Idiot. Only a pampered Squeeler fan would say they they would prefer to go “0-4” so they would not have a QB controversy.
    Unfriggin believable!!!

  28. MJ says: Jun 2, 2010 8:30 PM

    I don’t think the Steelers are stupid. Ben has been a pain in the ass since he has been in Pittsburgh. Sure they’ve won, but I’m sure that if they feel they have a young guy (cough Dennis Dixon) that can step in and duplicate the success that the Steelers have had the past few seasons then my guess is they trade Ben. Its bold, but that’s Ronney.

  29. nflqb says: Jun 2, 2010 8:32 PM

    HMM the Steelers are paying Ben 100 million bucks and they did not trade him when everyone in the media was pushing them to, yet some little tiny brains are coming to a conclusion there is a chance Ben wont be the starter the second he gets the green light from Goodell.
    You just have to wonder what goes on in peoples minds.
    They good go 16-0 with Byron as the starter an any one who knows football would tell you they want ben leading the team the next week when all teams are 0-0 and the next game you lose is the end of the season, umm that is why hes paid 100 million folks, what dumb people there are on this planet, my god!

  30. Siggy00 says: Jun 2, 2010 8:37 PM

    Florio should name this site Roethlisberger Football Talk.

  31. Beezer says: Jun 2, 2010 8:42 PM

    You are desperate to convince yourself that Leftwich is a decent QB because you are afraid to see your favorite team start 1-3, or 0-4. He is a bad QB who somehow played well when he was with the steelers but did you see his performance last year? I know Tampa Bay was one of the worst teams in the NFL but they still had Kellen Winslow and Antonio Bryant and an offensive line comparable to Pittsburgh. Think about it he was demoted to 3rd on the depth chart in Tampa. Good luck Steelers you need it while Roethlisberger is suspended. Keep up the delusional articles Florio.

  32. ampats says: Jun 2, 2010 8:50 PM

    New to PFT or just wake up from a coma?

  33. steeltownpride says: Jun 2, 2010 8:51 PM

    Dont underestimate that Dennis Dixon might be the starting QB come week 1 . I think the only controversy would be if Dixon went 4-0 when Ben gets back to play . The fans might want to see Dennis continue what he has started .
    But either way its better to have to many qb’s them say someone like Cleveland and their qb status . Either way its a non story till the season starts and such

  34. hamburglar says: Jun 2, 2010 8:58 PM

    None of these situations will ever come to pass. The Steelers will start 1-3. Ben will come back and the Steelers will finish about .500 again and miss the playoffs. They lost to the Raiders/Chiefs/Browns in consecutive weeks. Ben played fine. The defense was absolutely wretched last year. James Harrison looks like lost a step (or two). The Browns ran the same play of Cribbs off Left Tackle at least a dozen times and Harrison couldn’t do anything about it. I guess his steroids ran out. Also, even if Leftwich wins the job, Ben will just rape his whole family, as he has become accustomed to doing.

  35. tkebean says: Jun 2, 2010 9:00 PM

    This is a ridiculous post. Please remember we are talking about Byron Leftwich. The man that failed in Jax. Leftwich couldn’t start in Tampa for more than a couple games and that QB competition was against QBs far worse than than anything on the Steelers roster. There’s no way he stays in and a top 5 QB in the NFL sits on the bench. 3-1 or 4-0, it’s not going to happen.
    That’s even if Leftwich starts the season over Dixon (I bet Dixon is the starter come opening day), Tomlin’s pet project.
    We’ve had over 5 season to see what Byron can do and it’s not much.

  36. DirtDawg55 says: Jun 2, 2010 9:03 PM

    Foolio, you are a complete moron. There is zero chance Big Ben doesn’t return as the starter. They aren’t paying him $100 million plus to be second string no matter how many games someone else wins. Two Super Bowls and a Hall of Fame pace as a starter dictate he’s the starter.
    Now, if Big Ben breaks his leg in game five (when he is sure to return) and Leftwich comes in and wins that game and the next eleven and goes something like 15 and 1 on the year and then wins the Super Bowl and sets season records for yardage and touchdowns, then and only then (and it’s still a maybe) will there be any kind of QB controversy in Pittsburgh.
    Besides, what the heck do you think Leftwich is going to say? “I recognize I am a second tier starter in this league?”.
    Seriously. You’re straight out retarded if you think this is at all a story.

  37. SantonioH10 says: Jun 2, 2010 9:10 PM

    “On first thought I would think that this must be satire.
    But then it is from a Squeerler fan. So I have to take it at face value. (They have no sense of sense…)
    Idiot. Only a pampered Squeeler fan would say they they would prefer to go “0-4″ so they would not have a QB controversy.
    Unfriggin believable!!!”
    It was obvious satire. I know someone of your massive intellect can’t understand when us poor “Squeerler” fans are being sarcastic, so I’ll be sure to mark all future joke posts as such as to avoid further confusion.

  38. The Wishbone says: Jun 2, 2010 9:12 PM

    So in your magazine you’re gonna cover things that everybody already knows? But you’re gonna do it months later? That’s gonna be a GREAT magazine, lol.

  39. cailte says: Jun 2, 2010 9:14 PM

    Anyone who has ever seen Leftwich do his clumsy act for Tampa Bay knows this is a non-question. Byron may be a smart guy, a nice guy and all that but he simply cannot execute. You want to criticize Tebow’s delivery? Watch BL’s tapes. Better yet, watch just receivers and see where thrown balls go. 3 to 4 yards on the ground in front of the receiver or 5 yards over his head. Not pretty. Hello Dixon.

  40. zibit says: Jun 2, 2010 9:21 PM

    IF you had written this about Dixon you might have a point…because he’s really talented.

  41. string888 says: Jun 2, 2010 9:22 PM

    LOL I wouldn’t worry about that. The better question is can Leftwich survive 4 games as the starter without being injured?

  42. ItalianArmyGuy says: Jun 2, 2010 9:25 PM

    @Florio – Mod +5 for posting more Byron Leftwich stories
    That’s “future Hall of Famer, and future Steelers 2X Super Bowl MVP Byron Leftwich” to the rest of you idiot readers on this site

  43. chadgoy says: Jun 2, 2010 9:43 PM

    Wow……..I’m glad that I’ll never pay to buy a copy of your magazine. You really think there’s a big underlying problem waiting to explode if the steelers go 3-1 or 4-0 at the start of the season? Hahaha!!! The steelers will be lucky to go 3-3 the first six games, and if they do better I don’t think there’ll be any problem. Don’t you think the real problem will be if they go 1-5 or 2-4 and get way behind the Bengals and Ravens for division. Wow Florio, WOW. The only thing I’d buy that magazine for is if they stopped making toilet paper

  44. mrogers18 says: Jun 2, 2010 9:57 PM

    After the bye week the Steelers play the Brownies… No matter how well the potential backups (Dixon or Leftwich) are playing Big Ben is going to be starting. No better way to knock off the rust than playing hapless Cleveland!
    … besides the WR’s this week in OTA’s all commented about his accuracy and arm strength. He might be a turd off the field but he is a top 4 QB in the NFL. But if he is suspended the full six games because of failing the agreement with the NFL, then Tomlin could end up teaching him a lesson and benching his ass.

  45. blueeclipse says: Jun 2, 2010 10:14 PM

    C’mon Florio……….you’re reaching here man. Regardless of their record…….Ben Roethlisberger will be under center for the Steelers after their bye week. Leftwich isn’t the player Ben is. This is a no brainer.

  46. Macadamia says: Jun 2, 2010 10:15 PM

    funi, put down the crack pipe. This article brings up a non-issue because the Stillers will be lucky to win ONE game before Big Jen returns from the sorority parties.

  47. MrONE50 says: Jun 2, 2010 10:22 PM

    You have two QBs one who likes to extend the play with pocket movement (S.A. Roethlisberger) and another one who’s a gunslinger with a slow release (Leftwhich)… Both are hard to coach players, while S.A. Roethlisberger is way more successful with SB win over Seattle and Arizona aka SB non heavyweights, still Leftwhich could cause a coaching headache. We’ve often seen Leftwhich’s slow release on some bad teams. But on a good team like the Stillers his gunslinging abilities somehow were more of a strength than his slow release was a hindrance. I would love for this scenario to play out.
    Signed a cold-blodded Ravens fan.

  48. BBB82 says: Jun 2, 2010 10:54 PM

    Leftwich is probably the better choice in the long run. He doesn’t really rape anyone. So that’s a good start.

  49. mission says: Jun 2, 2010 10:59 PM

    I’m not even a Steelers fan and think he answered that near-perfectly. You expect a rookie who’s never seen any action to have a gee-whiz, I-just-want-to-learn attitude but not a veteran. He did it without stirring anything up and not making his teammates question his leadership/manhood.
    What the hell do you expect the guy to say? I actually don’t even think ‘yes’ IS the right answer.
    Florio, maybe you could learn something.

  50. NilesBrowns says: Jun 2, 2010 11:11 PM

    If I win the lottery, I may not be ready to go back to work.

  51. BennyBoy says: Jun 2, 2010 11:22 PM

    Wow Florio. You tend to draw some ridiculous conclusions but this one takes the cake.
    The guy is just parroting what he thinks his head coach wants him to say. Nothing more, nothing less.

  52. SteelerPurdy says: Jun 3, 2010 1:31 AM

    you are one delusional mofo Florio…
    its obvious by that quote that Byron is a team player and is only worried about wins and a chance to to be in the tournament…
    how else would any competitive player respond to that?
    you should layoff/cutback whatever your smokin..

  53. Klytus says: Jun 3, 2010 1:40 AM

    That choice will be Coach Tomlin’s to make. I’m hopeful the Steelers will have 4 wins in their first four games. I like Byron Leftwich when he plays for the Steelers because he plays with focus and enthusiasm. Just being on the Steelers raises his game.
    If the Steelers offense is more committed to the run then that will take some pressure off of Leftwich. So what does the coach do if the team is humming along without Ben? I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  54. patpatriotagain says: Jun 3, 2010 2:07 AM

    they won’t have to worry about it. they won’t be better than 1-3

  55. RebaT. says: Jun 3, 2010 3:40 AM

    If Leftwich kicks ass, Dixon is right behind him. Ben is a bench warmer – oh wait-he’s the bathroom the whole game!!!!

  56. philwauke says: Jun 3, 2010 7:28 AM

    Byron leftwich marketing board continues.

  57. i'm president charlie! says: Jun 3, 2010 7:29 AM

    Protip = Dennis Dixon is going to start. Non-story, as usual.

  58. MikeFlorioIsMyBitch says: Jun 3, 2010 7:59 AM

    Ben starts even if Lefty has the tip of the Lombardi coming out of his ass!

  59. OranjelloJones says: Jun 3, 2010 8:11 AM

    Byron = not even sniffing a ring.
    BR = 2 rings.
    No way Leftwich keeps the job once Ben is eligible.

  60. Sixburgh Brandon says: Jun 3, 2010 8:27 AM

    Big Ben the bench-warmer. Wow. It’s really flowing deep in here today.

  61. Other Bears says: Jun 3, 2010 8:42 AM

    If Steelers thrive without Ben, Byron may not be ready to step aside
    That’s one big freakin’ “IF.”
    Nah…. Gannah…. Happen!

  62. Holeinone09 says: Jun 3, 2010 8:52 AM

    With all due respect to Byron, when Ben is eligible to play he will start. If you believe otherwise, you apparently have not watched Ben play football.
    Mike, this story was a non-issue.

  63. Tony Snow says: Jun 3, 2010 10:05 AM

    Yeah, you can do the Math on this one. You’re not gonna have 100 mil sitting on the bench. Although, I wouldnt mind seeing some plays with Ben and Dennis Dixon ….sprinkle in some Randle El ……for some (Dare I say) ….Wildcat action!?!? 🙂

  64. FarmerMonkey says: Jun 3, 2010 10:51 AM

    Not going to happen, unless Ben spends all his time away from the team packing away twinkies.
    “Rust” is one thing, but it’s mostly the same personnel and the same offensive coordinator Ben’s worked with before. Ben’s a franchise QB, and he’ll have the bye week to help prepare for his return.
    Good for Leftwich, though. Who would want to follow a QB who’d demurely state that he’ll obviously step aside when his obviously superior teammate returns from suspension?

  65. Bed says: Jun 8, 2010 3:28 PM

    This disgusts me.
    He should be cut for even saying he wants to compete with Big Ben.
    I used to be a pro scout and you can believe me when I say Benny is the best player ever.
    Before being a scout I was a runway model. I obviously have an eye for beauty and he has all that too.
    Leftwich should just hand the ball off and wait for BenBen to come back.
    Ben is possibly the greatest person I’ve never met.
    And that says a lot!

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