Haley, Roethlisberger relationship moves closer to the spotlight in Pittsburgh


Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has spent so much time talking about the Steelers in the past week that we’re starting to wonder whether he covers any other team.  (Writes the guy who has spent so much time in the past two weeks talking about the Dolphins.)

On Sunday, Rapoport added some more meat to his reporting on the Ben Roethlisberger situation.

Previously, Rapoport had cited frustrations with the direction as the sole source of Roethlisberger’s possible desire to seek a trade.  Appearing on the latest edition of NFL Gameday Morning, Rapoport said that Roethlisberger has concerns about offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was characterized by Rapoport as an “ill-fitting” choice for the job.  While both Roethlisberger and Haley reportedly bought in to the new approach entering the 2013 season, the ongoing struggles underscore that something isn’t working right.

Rapoport also mentioned that which we believe is at the heart of the situation: Roethlisberger’s contract.  He’s due to make $12.1 million in 2014 and $11.6 million in 2015.  Players at the top of the quarterback market — all of whom have fewer than two Super Bowl wins — are at or above $20 million per year.

It could be that both issues have driven the recent reports from NFL Network regarding Roethlisberger.  Rapoport’s information possibly flows from an effort by the team to set up a Plan B in the event Roethlisberger insists on $20 million per year.  Observations arising on Thursday night from Mike Silver of NFLN regarding Roethlisberger’s work ethic when away from the facility possibly trace to Haley, who could be trying to save his own job by throwing Roethlisberger under the bus.

While it’s considered bad form in the media to speculate about people’s sources (not that that’s stopped me before — or others who have speculated about mine), it’s fairly obvious that Silver has a pipeline to Haley.  Earlier this year, for example, Silver shared on-the-record quotes from Haley regarding potential improvements to the offense as the team prepared to travel to London for a game against the Vikings.  Prior to that, Haley told Silver the Pittsburgh offense was “shell-shocked” after losing center Maurkice Pouncey for the season in Week One against the Titans.

So when Silver shares inflammatory observations from unnamed team sources about Roethlisberger’s perceived work ethic, the most obvious source is Haley.  At a minimum, Silver would have at least tried to run the theory by Haley before sharing it with a national audience.

Whether it’s money or Haley, either or both issues will need to be addressed after the season — especially once Roethlisberger connects the dots and realizes that his offensive coordinator either is telling tales out of turn or failed to do anything to support Roethlisberger when Silver inevitably ran the notion that Ben isn’t working hard enough past Haley.

“When someone is a source and they’re unnamed, they have an agenda,” Roethlisberger said Friday.  “And their agenda is not winning football games and not helping this team.  Whoever that agenda is coming from, they’re not helping us, they’re hurting us.”

Roethlisberger eventually may want to hurt Haley.  While we hope it never comes to that, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers going into 2014 without major changes on offense, possibly coming after the situation between Roethlisberger and Haley comes to a head.

UPDATE 10:52 a.m. ET:  Via Twitter, Silver says that he attributed the information to player sources on the air.  Here’s the quote that was publicized by NFL Network via post-show email:  “I am told Ben Roethlisberger is more engaged this year [and] doing a better job of preparation when he is at the facility. When he is away from the facility, he is no Peyton Manning. That is what I am told is the biggest obstacle to him staying in Pittsburgh over the long haul from their perspective. At this stage of his career he has to become a more cerebral player and not just become a physical wonder.”

28 responses to “Haley, Roethlisberger relationship moves closer to the spotlight in Pittsburgh

  1. Manning has a losing record when it counts – the post season – so what exactly is the point of spending so much time preparing to play, personal stats? I don’t care for Ben, but he has 2 rings…

  2. Roethlisberger and Haley are both whiney little, me first, girls. They should both be shipped off at the end if the season. Pittsburgh deserves better than these two d-bags. And I’m not even a Steeler fan.

  3. When I attempt to dissect Haley’s antics “away from the facility” I wonder how a team could win a game with this dude on the team.

  4. Not to mention that Peyton would never, ever hold up with the o line Ben has had to play with for years.

  5. Pittsburgh won that first Super Bowl with Ben in spite of his performance. He had monumentally horrible game and the team found a way to win. In today’s NFL he may be underpaid, but he’s not at the level of Brees, Manning, or Brady.

  6. So, Big Ben wants to retire for the Steelers with a big contract and no Todd Haley.

    I can see it happening. I bet he stays for the 15-18 million dollar a year range and a new offensive coordinator.

  7. More importanly for the Steelers is who they are going to get as a new head coach.

    Tomlin is doing his best John Gruden impression. Win the Super Bowl with someone else’s players, then get worse every year until you get the boot. You can’t look at the situation with any honesty and say it isn’t true as of this moment.

  8. nnagi says: Nov 17, 2013 11:13 AM

    Manning has a losing record when it counts – the post season – so what exactly is the point of spending so much time preparing to play, personal stats? I don’t care for Ben, but he has 2 rings…
    Roethlisberger by no means won those 2 rings on his game play. He had a good team both times.

  9. Well it’s a good thing they didn’t give Bruce Arians a new contract to be the OC because we saw how much of a problem it was when the OC and QB were too close.

  10. Ben needs to grow up. . .

    He is still upset they let Arians go. Things happen in life that you don’t like or agree with.

    Ben can say what he wants, but I still don’t believe he has given his best effort since Haley has been there.

  11. I hear about the O-line every single year.

    What if Pittsburgh had a QB that didn’t hold onto the ball forever and would get rid of the ball on a 3, 5, or 7 yard drop?

    How much better would that O-line get?

  12. Go Steelers. ! The fiction thrown this way by reporters trying to become the story has no impact on the game. Win one at a time. Today it is Detroit !

  13. Haley’s offense is sound, but he seems to have a people problem everywhere he goes. I was initially excited to have him on board, but if he can’t get along with players–and he seems to have issues with more than Roethlisberger–maybe it’s time to make a change.

    Roethlisberger is a talented quarterback with three AFC championships and two Super Bowls. After seeing the contract Flacco just signed, I can understand why he’s hinting he should be paid top-tier money. But he’s not performing at that level and the Steelers simply can’t afford it. He’s on the downside of his career, and if he’s not willing to take a paycut, the Steelers may have to make a change at QB as well.

  14. Big Ben “cerebral.” Is cerebral a synonym for “Oafish?” If not, The Steelers are obviously looking for another QB.

  15. Michael Silver’s always been a d**chebag when it comes to citing “anonymous sources”. Of course, his writing is strictly pedestrian, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he relies on tabloid sensationalism to advance his career. As for Haley, would it really be that surprising if he were pulling the same psychotic garbage in Pittsburgh that he previously did in Phoenix? Haley is not only a bad coach, but he’s a cancer for any team willing to hire him, in my humble opinion.

  16. Trust me Haley if your reading this you will be gone long before Big Ben. The only work ethic you need to worry about is your own and if I were you I’d apply that work ethic to working on your resume.

  17. Bubby Brister, Mike Tomzack, Neil O’Donnel, Tommy Maddox, Kordell Stewart.. the Steelers know what its like to have an average to mediocre QB and and waste chance after chance in the playoffs because of it. Cowher could have had 5 Super Bowls in the 90’s if Marina was the QB
    Big Ben is going nowhere unless he starts messing up off the field again. He is too good.
    How did that one guy put it? Bubby Brister era? That is exactly what the Rooney’s want to avoid.

  18. People who have short memories, perhaps, may have trouble recalling the “BB” years (Before Ben). You would have trouble finding ONE QB in that era, since Bradshaw, that even had ONE year that could be considered better than average!! He didn’t win 2 rings on his game play??? I beg to differ. As “below the line” as his performance was against Seattle, take a look at the playoff run that got them there. No way they get to the Super Bowl that year without him. And his performance in the Super Bowl against the Cardinals is what started the phrase … ability to “extend the play”.

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