So how long will Ben Roethlisberger stay with the Steelers? Possibly only as long as Maurkice Pouncey does.
“He’s a guy my career hinges on because he means that much to me,” Roethlisberger said last week, via Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “As long as he’s around, I’ll be around.”
Amid reports (obvious ones) that the Steelers will try to extend Roethlisberger’s contract, which has one year remaining on it, there’s another contract with one year left on it that the Steelers need to address.
“They can come to me tomorrow and say we want to get your deal done,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ll say, ‘Get Pouncey done first.’ That’s only because I want to make sure he’ll be here.”
Roethlisberger also reached for the current Three Rivers third rail when assessing Pouncey’s value to the team: “I voted for him for MVP. I couldn’t do anything without him.”
The quarterback’s broader objective is to keep the offensive line together, along with offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who could be leaving to coach the Broncos. And for good reason; Roethlisberger has seen good times and bad times on the offensive line. Before Munchak they weren’t good. Before Pouncey they were downright pathetic.
“I pray that fans write as many letters as they can to Mr. [Art] Rooney to keep coach Munchak around,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s such a special coach. When the linemen are happy and love to play for their coach, they play better.”
Roethlisberger also wants guard Ramon Foster to return.
“I told Ramon I’m going to do everything I can to get him back,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s a mainstay. I don’t think he missed a snap all season. He’s smart. He’s a leader on this team. He and Pouncey are thick as thieves. I would fight for any of those guys.”
It’s no surprise that Roethlisberger has a high degree of loyalty to those who block for him. Making it even more noteworthy are the reports suggesting he may not feel the same way about at least one of his pass catchers.