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Roethlisberger, Ward disagree on leadership in Pittsburgh

Hines+Ward+Seattle+Seahawks+v+Pittsburgh+Steelers+NgZSIhqFmiHl Getty Images

Amid questions regarding the presence (or absence) of leadership in the Steelers’ locker room, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wisely waited a week or so before stating his case that, yes, there are still leaders on the team.

If Ben had shared his views last week, the contrast with one of his former teammates would have been far more glaring.

Nine days ago, Hines Ward joined me during a guest-hosting stint on The Dan Patrick Show and said, unequivocally, that there currently is no leadership in the locker room.  Hines later repeated his position elsewhere.  By Friday, however, the subject had changed.

Intentional or otherwise, Roethlisberger shared his own views after the dust settled, avoiding a more obvious conflict with the Super Bowl XL MVP, who retired after the 2011 season.

Still, the conflict is there.  And since Roethlisberger has a vested interest in helping his team be successful, he’s got no reason to say there’s no leadership — especially since he’s one of the obvious leaders who may or may not be leading.

And that’s the most important aspect of what Hines said.  By saying there’s no leadership in the Pittsburgh locker room, Ward is saying that Roethlisberger isn’t a leader.

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37 Responses to “Roethlisberger, Ward disagree on leadership in Pittsburgh”
  1. mcox4mvp says: Mar 1, 2013 10:43 AM

    Better roethlisberger not leading at all than leading by example

  2. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 1, 2013 10:43 AM

    Never expected Ward to turn Tiki on us.

  3. thebrownswillalwaysloose says: Mar 1, 2013 10:45 AM

    The (once) mighty burg is crumbling! Freaking Awesome! Couldn’t happen to a better team :)

  4. mitchitized says: Mar 1, 2013 10:49 AM

    You’re connecting dots that are on different pieces of paper, Mike.

    One guy you are referencing is retired and has nothing to lose or gain by saying anything about the state of the current team.

    Another guy is currently the franchise quarterback, and is responsible for being a leader – or at least approximate one.

    I love me some Hines Ward, but each season that passes greatly diminishes his credibility as a source of what’s going on inside the locker room.

    I’m also not a defender of Ben, but think his approach on this particular issue is really mature, measured, and direct. Quite un-Ben-like, actually.

    Could Roethlisberger’s recent fatherhood be the kick in the behind/head/elsewhere needed for him to start growing on the personal/social side?

  5. turdsmuggler says: Mar 1, 2013 10:49 AM

    Ward’s comments hold little to no water and stink of hypocrisy. This is the same guy who publicly ridiculed Ben when he didn’t play through a concussion against Balt.

  6. welcomeback85 says: Mar 1, 2013 10:51 AM

    I hate when loyal players turn “expert analyst”. I don’t like ward, hate Pittsburgh, and hate little Ben, but come on Shut up Hines. Have a little loyalty to your team. I understand you wanted a few more years and Pitt opted to not sign you(which was bs. IMO.) but stay classy and stop jockeying for national media spotlight.
    Ps. I hate the steelers.

  7. psmith7716 says: Mar 1, 2013 10:51 AM

    Hines is no longer part of the locker room, so how does he know of the chemistry there? Of course, there obviously has been a loss of some leadership because there are fewer veterans now than before. But having Big Ben, Clark, Foote and others still there indicates to me there is a solid core of leaders, and more will develop. There is no story here Florio. Let it go.

  8. moronhater16 says: Mar 1, 2013 10:57 AM

    TWO REASONS TO BELIEVE BEN OVER WARD.
    1. Ben played and was in locker room last season, Ward didn’t .
    2. Ward is a disgruntled ex player that was just released from the team.

    Many years of great service for the Steelers, but as a huge Steeler fan , even I say… Go away Ward, enjoy the memories and your rings and stop hurting the current team( they have enough problems )

  9. eightysixisback says: Mar 1, 2013 11:01 AM

    @thebrownswillalwaysloose says:
    Yeah, you can keep wishing but i wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen if i were you. People who don’t like the steelers say that every year but the steelers always manage to come back and be competitive. Last year wasn’t a great year but they can’t be great every year. Whether you like it or not the steelers are still and will continue to be one of the best organizations in the NFL.

  10. mazblast says: Mar 1, 2013 11:06 AM

    Hines wasn’t in that locker room last year, so how does he know?

    I’m not saying he’s wrong, though. Clearly something went off the rails for the team last year. I doubt that there was the “schism” or fracture that the media is trying to promote as The Agreed-On Narrative, the story everyone is supposed to go with regardless of any correlation with the truth, but it’s entirely possible that more vocal leadership was needed and no one stepped up.

  11. jr4real says: Mar 1, 2013 11:15 AM

    ward is a self-centered baby. He whined when Plax was drafted but it extended ward’s career 8 years.

    Ben not the most mature person but don’t think Ward is the man either.

  12. haterade999 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:21 AM

    Whines Hard.

  13. steeltroll says: Mar 1, 2013 11:23 AM

    Please. Obviously it must be the beginning of the long offseason. It’s hockey time, now, baby. And 10:45 am, the Steelers went 8-8 in 2006. Guess what they did in 2008?

  14. scrp2 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:35 AM

    I like the scrappy Bengals this year.

  15. reed20fence says: Mar 1, 2013 11:38 AM

    I believe Ben.

  16. brstevens says: Mar 1, 2013 11:44 AM

    Good lord, what is happening with the Steelers? It’s like they’ve turned into a two-bit reality show with all of their faux drama.

  17. bigbadal21 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:48 AM

    turdsmuggler says:Mar 1, 2013 10:49 AM

    Ward’s comments hold little to no water and stink of hypocrisy. This is the same guy who publicly ridiculed Ben when he didn’t play through a concussion against Balt.

    I agree with you but would go much further. Ward also complained to the media when Tommy Maddox got a slight pay increase when he was starting for a couple of years while being paid as a third stringer. He complained to the media when Ben said it would be nice to have a tall wide reciever. He complained to the media about every first round reciever the Steelers drafted since Ward was drafted. Ward complained to the media about being moved to slot reciever earlier in his career. These are just off the top of my head. Ward did a crapful of complaining while he was a Steeler. He should be thankful it hasn’t seemed to hurt his legacy.

  18. bigbadal21 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:50 AM

    Ward also violated his contract and held out for more money.

  19. melikefootball says: Mar 1, 2013 11:57 AM

    Isn’t this the way the NFL has become. All the off season pointing fingers, has been players now become experts on all and we as fans take it all in. It isn’t just the Steelers but all teams have all these me me me players that really think they and only they are important. The game has gone down hill and we as fans are to stay loyal yet not one player is loyal except to the pay check. If it wasn’t for all the fantasy leagues to keep people interested I feel many would leave the ways of the NFL.

  20. ravenmuscle says: Mar 1, 2013 12:01 PM

    There Are leaders on the Steeler team..
    1. Casey Hampton..oops…he’s getting cut.
    2. James harrison…oops…he’s getting cut.
    3. Larry Foote…oops…he old and getting cut.
    4. Mike Wallace…oops…he hardly played…wants too much money and is a whiner.
    5. Lamarr Woodley…oops…he’s fat and out of shape and decided to skip a game.
    6.Polamalu …oops….he missed most of the season and his calf is shot.
    7. Heath Miller…oops…he tore his acl and will never be the same.
    8. Brad Keisel…oops…he 90 years old…not a good choice
    9. One of the running backs…oops…their GM said all the backs are getting cut

    I guess that does leave “little” Ben with a shoulder that will never heal.

  21. olcap says: Mar 1, 2013 12:03 PM

    The Steelers have a bigger problem having a head coach that is just plain dumb. And they are dumb for keeping him. The Steelers will not even get to an 8-8 record in 2013, guaranteed.

  22. ottograham says: Mar 1, 2013 12:15 PM

    As a Steeler fan who despises Hines as a person I will say that he is a clown and ignorant for his recent comments.

    @welcomeback85 how do you justify our organization not resigning a washed up vet who should’ve been out of the league after ’10 season as B.S. ??? We barely have cash to keep the players we had this season.

    I Believe that if there was even ONE team willing to sign him this past season he would’ve went there. But no one is going to pay an aged wideout who can’t play special teams and be maybe 4th best wideout in rotation last season on any squad. Would you? Tell me how it is b.s. this guy got his 1000th reception on a shuffle pass for Christi sake. This is all from a Steeler fan who doesn’t live life through black and yellow sunglasses.

  23. shaunypoo says: Mar 1, 2013 12:29 PM

    I think it is hilarious that some of you who are blasting Ward as a washed up has-been who should keep his mouth shut are the same people who say he is a hall of famer and “you would love to have him on your team.”

    Is this what fans do to former Steelers? Love them while they are here, hate them when they are gone. You people are no different than the fans of any other team.

    Hines knows a majority of those guys in the locker room, are you telling me he doesn’t talk to ANY of them? Someone isn’t telling him the stuff that goes on in there? The lack of leadership?

    But Ben, the paragon of moral virtuosity, tells you there is leadership and you blindly believe him?

    I am sure the truth is somewhere in between, as it is for most teams. They obviously didn’t have great chemistry last year. In previous years chemistry made up for a team getting old and losing some talent, but not last year.

  24. blindmansaidwhat says: Mar 1, 2013 1:41 PM

    Sorry, I loved how Ward played the game but his comments are so self serving. He was very upset with how he was released by the Steelers. When he said the locker room was in disarray he also said “if I were still there that wouldn’t happen”. Huh!?! Sounds like sour grapes to me…

    To put it into perspective under Cowher Earl Holmes once threw a chair at a teammate and had to be restrained…it was all forgotten.

  25. bobzilla1001 says: Mar 1, 2013 2:30 PM

    Ward is just as outspoken now as he was as a player. He called out Roethlisberger a good many times during their time together. I applaud Ward’s honesty and his passion for the Steelers organization.
    Steelers fans — and the local sports media — have never been accepting of the truth when it comes to their beloved Big Ben. Too many of them are on the bandwagon merely as obsessed Roethlisberger groupies.
    Back when the Steelers were TWICE winning back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1970s, I don’t remember this much “love” for Terry Bradshaw, who threw more TD passes by accident in Super Bowls than Roethlisberger has thrown on purpose.

  26. siggy00 says: Mar 1, 2013 2:43 PM

    Hines Ward is a complete and utter blowhard.

    He’s doing the same thing that his buddy Jerome Bettis did when he retired: Downplay the other members of this team while at the same time promote his own self-worth.

    Hey Hines, how much of a “leader” were you when your late night carousing led to your divorce? And then later a DUI? How much of a “leader” were you when you ran a sports bar with a CONVICTED drug dealer named Korry Pitts (This isn’t rumor btw, it’s fact, look up the name)?

    That’s leadership? Spare me.

    Do “leaders” hold out while under contract? And then imply that they have to sell dope to make ends meet like you did in 2005 (Considering Pitts’ past maybe that was true)?

    Do “leaders” demand that their quarterback (Roethlisberger) lie to doctors about a concussion and then go on TV and say Ben should be playing in this game but yet can say that Ryan Clark, who was cleared by doctors (Ben wasn’t) shouldn’t play in Denver because of his condition?

    Would Hines ever answer why he values Ryan Clark’s life over Roethlisberger’s?

    Hines Ward needs to realize one simple fact:

    Before Ben Roethlisberger arrived Ward was a good receiver on mostly bad Steelers teams.

    Then Ben shows up, and only then did Hines Ward win anything of his significance in his career.

    And his constant digs at Ben will never change that.

  27. siggy00 says: Mar 1, 2013 2:55 PM

    “I applaud Ward’s honesty and his passion for the Steelers organization”

    Passion? His passion came at a price.

    He was perfectly willing to sit at home while UNDER CONTRACT and risk the 2005 season until Dan Rooney gave him more money.

    Go away Bobzilla, your dream of having Byron Leftwich be the #1 QB on this team isn’t going to happen.

  28. dachozen1 says: Mar 1, 2013 3:32 PM

    No one has given up his heart, body and soul to the city of Pittsburgh more than Hines Ward. He is currently in the media and deserves the respect to give his opinion on the subject. Just like Ben has the right to respond. Hines attitude is what is missing on this team. At times, this team looks flat without any emotion for the game.

  29. engymass2 says: Mar 1, 2013 3:43 PM

    So I guess Ward, Brown, Clark, Troy, the “anonymous” player (about Woodley), other Steelers players, and fan’s perception are all wrong. But Ben’s perception is right ? No wonder their’s no leadership in the locker room; how can you possibly have leadership when you don’t even see a problem ? (Ben)

  30. CKL says: Mar 1, 2013 3:43 PM

    mazblast says:
    Mar 1, 2013 11:06 AM
    Hines wasn’t in that locker room last year, so how does he know?
    ___________________________________
    Maybe because he’s not far removed from his career there and still talks to his former teammates? It could still be only Hines’ opinion, but my suggestion isn’t far fetched.

    Either way, as an outsider, I never thought Hines & BR got along. Hines sniped about BR and vice versa. It’s not really surprising Hines wouldn’t think of BR as a leader.

  31. eightysixisback says: Mar 1, 2013 3:58 PM

    @siggy00:
    Actually he came back before he was given more money. he held out until the first pre-season game and said he could not handle watching the game and not being out there with his teammates. My screen name is a reference to him from two years ago when there was some talk that he wouldn’t be back. He is my favorite player of all time. He played the game the right way. I have heard a lot of people over the years say he was a dirty player but those were either opposing defensive players he embarassed or fans of other teams who didn’t like him. The guy played the game the right way. He never took a play off, he practiced hard and was a great player for a long time even though he didn’t have the natural talent that a lot of NFL WRs do. All that being said i really do think he should keep his opinions about whether the steelers have leadership or not to himself.

  32. bobzilla1001 says: Mar 1, 2013 4:18 PM

    ziggyoo:
    You are one of the obesessed Roethlisberger groupies to which I referred. Thanks helping to make my point.
    You’re a peach.

  33. steel420 says: Mar 1, 2013 4:51 PM

    Ward has sour grapes. He’s just mad because he was cut sooner than he wanted to retire. The bottom line was that Ward couldn’t outrun most linebackers in the NFL. He’s a hall of fame player, but shut up already. No sense in kicking his old team when they’re down.

  34. siggy00 says: Mar 2, 2013 1:30 AM

    “You are one of the obesessed Roethlisberger groupies to which I referred. Thanks helping to make my point.”

    You have no point. You think Leftwich is better.

    Which kills any credibility you think you have.

    Simply put? Over 50 year old Yinzers have no place in discussing the current NFL.

  35. siggy00 says: Mar 2, 2013 1:32 AM

    “@siggy00:
    Actually he came back before he was given more money”

    And what did he do when the deal wasn’t finalized? Wore a T-shirt in the locker room implying that he had to sell drugs to make ends meet.

    “Leadership”

  36. itsfootballbaby says: Mar 2, 2013 10:57 AM

    As a Ravens fan I will say this… The notion that Big Ben is not a leader is ridiculous. Along with being a great QB he leads that team..(wow, I can’t believe I just said that). Anyway maybe the Steeler fans will realize what the rest of the league has known for years…. Hines Ward is a jack-a$$ and all about Hines Ward and only Hines Ward.

  37. bobzilla1001 says: Mar 2, 2013 1:03 PM

    siggyoo:
    What I actually think is that any quarterback who averages about 23 TD passes per season and is paid $800,000 per game, that quarterback is not — repeat — is not indespensible and can be replaced.
    The Steelers are 6-3 the past three seasons when someone not named Roethlisberger has been their quarterback.

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