The not-so-subtle media tug-of-war continues between the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger regarding his future with the team, which will depend in large part on the size of the dollars the Steelers plan to pay him on his next contract. If Ben leaves, his legacy in Pittsburgh will be adversely affected — especially if he leaves after repeatedly saying he never wants to leave.
And so it’s no surprise that Roethlisberger saying he doesn’t want to leave Pittsburgh became a headline on the team’s official website.
“I want to be here,” Roethlisberger said Monday, after G.M. Kevin Colbert declared that he doesn’t envision a set of circumstances in which Roethlisberger plays for another team. And Steelers.com pounced.
“That’s always been what I’ve said, too,” Roethlisberger said. “I said it last year when the erroneous NFL Network reports came out.”
The “erroneous” reports from NFL Network, partially owned by the Steelers, were attributed to unnamed Steelers sources. And those leaks may have been calculated to provoke Ben to declare that he doesn’t want to leave Pittsburgh, making it easier for the Steelers to low ball Big Ben and persuade him to accept whatever their best offer is — even if it doesn’t come close to reflecting his market value or making up for the hometown discount he believes he’s already giving the team.
If it all falls apart, the team will blame the player and the player will be the team and more leaks undoubtedly will flow to NFLN and others aimed at ensuring the fans agree with the organization’s position that Ben abandoned Pittsburgh.