But it’s what he’s seen of former linebacker Joey Porter that makes him a little nervous about Johnny Manziel.
Roethlisberger said during his radio show on 93.7 FM that he thinks Manziel can be successful, until the pounding takes a toll on his sub-6-foot frame.
“I was in the weight room the other day with Joey Porter, [and he was] asking me what I thought about Manziel,” Roethlisberger said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I looked at Joey and said, ‘Joey, do you think if you got a good hit on him, that he would be OK? And he said, ‘No, not at all.’ And that’s my question.
“You have guys like Joey Porter, who’s a big guy, guys that are fast like Troy [Polamalu], Ike Taylor coming off the edge, Lawrence Timmons. You’d better be real athletic, get down or be big” to absorb the pounding an NFL quarterback can take.
“I think he definitely has a lot of upside, but let’s wait and see. The key I’ll say every year when I get asked about RGIII, Andrew Luck, or whoever it is, Cam Newton. It’s not about your first year, it’s about years two, three and four.
“Can you sustain it when defenses, like Coach [Dick] LeBeau and the defenses he coaches, when they figure you out, can you find a way to stay a step above them?”
Other smaller quarterbacks have been able to stay on the field. But Roethlisberger’s concerns aren’t isolated, and weighing the difference between playmaking and the potential for missed time is a big part of the Manziel decision for many.