In 2008, after four seasons with the team, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finally was embraced by his teammates, elected as offensive co-captain along with receiver Hines Ward. Last year, even with an allegation of sexual assault pending against him in Nevada, Roethlisberger joined Wards and the rest of the six team captains.
This year, the Steelers again will have two offensive captains, but Ben isn’t one of them. Joining Ward in 2010 will be tight end Heath Miller.
The team announced a quartet of captains this morning. They are Ward and Miller for the offense, linebacker James Farrior for the defense, and linebacker Keyaron Fox on special teams.
Farrior has been defensive captain or co-captain since 2004. From 2004 through 2006, he shared the honor with Joey Porter. Last year, Farrior and James Harrison were the defensive captains.
In 2009, Fox and kicker Jeff Reed served as the special-teams captains. This year, Reed’s decision to publicly complain about his contract status and a string of off-field incidents dating back to early 2009 could have cost him ballots in the players-only vote, which for many football teams likely are counted exclusively by the head coach. (And all that that implies.)
The election of two offensive captains from the outset of the season likely cuts off any effort by Roethlisberger to finagle the attachment of a “C” to his jersey after his four-game suspension ends. Of course, if he truly has changed, he’ll be more concerned about earning the renewed respect and trust of his teammates, not politicking for it.