Report: “Bad blood” between Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger

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When the Steelers beat the Browns on the final Monday night of the 2021 season, the differences between Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethliberger and Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield couldn’t have been more stark. They apparently had one very important thing in common.

Neither was thrilled with his team.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was this question during a Wednesday chat: “Is there bad blood between the Steelers and Big Ben with how his career ended. Was he ready to retire or was it a Troy [Polamalu] type situation where he was forced into it?”

Said Dulac: “I would say it’s very very safe to assume that.”

That’s a strong statement. And it’s surprising. Some think that, a year ago, the Steelers were ready to move on. Some believe that the team specifically crafted an offer on a reduced deal with the goal of it being high enough to avoid insulting him but low enough to keep him from taking it. Then, he accepted what was a $5 million reduction in what he was due to make.

It was clear last year that Roethlisberger wasn’t the guy he once was. Mobility had allowed him to extend plays throughout his career. That mobility was virtually non-existent during the final season of his career.

To his credit, Roethlisberger learned how to color within the shrunken lines. However, it wasn’t good enough to justify another season.

The rest of the league knew it, too. His name never came up during the offseason quarterback carousel, which ultimately  entailed an insufficient number of available veterans.

It’s up to the Steelers and Roethlisbeger to mend fences, or not. They’ve been through too much to not at least try to see eye to eye.

30 responses to “Report: “Bad blood” between Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger

  1. Happens when competitors run it to the end – tough to face the reality. But the legs became slow to move and the arm no longer always allowed him to reach. I am sure the bitter taste will fade and they will hoist 7 high in Heinz – all will be happy.

  2. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors, especially when Roethlisberger is involved.

  3. Does he ever do anything without acting like a complete drama queen?

  4. If Roethlisberger was playing at a high level, they would’ve brought him back. The Steelers doesn’t “owe” him anything – they’ve paid $267 million for his 18 years of service.

  5. Baker and Ben have another thing in common as well, they are tied for the biggest whiner-baby in the NFL. Both of them love to tell you how injured they are— as if EVERY QB in the league is not hurting.
    The people of Cleveland eat it up!!

  6. He hasnt been the same in years. Time to go was now and good luck in retirement Big Ben .Enjoy it

  7. Got 2 rings with Ben but Tomlin blew it. Should have had another. His drafting and decisions are below average which has been a big problem the last 10 years. On too a new generation.

  8. Unpopular opinion, but I think Roethlisberger held this team back for the better part of his career.

    It’s a lot easier to win playoff games when you have the #1 defense and only need to score 13-17 points, but once the defense fell off from elite to only very good despite the Steelers constantly surrounding him with quality receivers (I’m not sure another team has been better at drafting receivers over the last two decades), he didn’t accomplish much.

    He made some nice highlight-reel plays from week to week, but he was never great at managing games and had a knack for making some ill-timed, bone-headed plays too.

  9. Still had a better arm than half of the starting QB’s but was painful to watch him, those feet were completely gone,can’t blame the Steelers

  10. Can’t hear you Ben, over the fact that the Steelers stood by you during your misconduct issues, and the motorcycle incident. Either of which could have ended your career.

  11. Ben Rothlisberger had a great, first ballot Hall of Fame career, and stepped away with dignity and class. Wishing him the best moving forward.

  12. he’s being a baby if this is true. the writing was all over the wall. without that defense, that was a 4-13 team.

  13. He couldn’t complete a pass that wasn’t horizontal to the LOS, what’s he mad about?

  14. The wheels completely fell off. He was like Peyton in the final year. 5 yards was a struggle.

  15. They were nice to let him have essentially a farewell tour. He was clearly shot at least two years ago.

  16. Today’s athletes have no perspective of how fortunate they are. Ben should have no issue with his career in Pittsburgh and I’m sure he’ll realize how blessed he was in time. It’s never easy to end a career so it’s understandable. I’m not so sure Baker will have the same epiphany very soon. He’s a legend in his own mind.

  17. They brought him back for a farewell tour when it was painfully obvious he was a shell of what he had been. You could very easily argue they should have moved on after the 2020 season for the good of the team and started looking for the next QB. The Steelers treated him very well IMHO.

  18. Not sure how anyone can say he or Polamalu were forced to retire. Move on if you want to keep playing. Manning, Brees, or literally every player ever not be resigned by their team is being forced to retire then. No one forced them to do anything.

  19. What really did Ben expect to play for the Steelers for as long as he wanted regardless how he performed? No reason for bad blood Ben had 18 years with the team.

  20. I respect your opinion, many people think that too. I don’t think people realize he was a different QB every season. If they needed a game manager he did that (won his 1st SB that way). If they needed a gunslinger (Bruce Arians days) he did that. He has all kinds of single game passing records, or top 5, TD’s, etc.. If he played on a junk team with no defense he would have probably had the most yards in history. Having a great defense perennially also hampers your throwing. How many 4th quarters in his career did they just hand the ball off to Bettis/Bell, etc..? He has the 3rd or 4th most game winning comebacks in HISTORY. He was clutch damn near 100% of the time, minus a few late INT’s late into his 30’s that all the younguns will remember.

    Unpopular opinion, but I think Roethlisberger held this team back for the better part of his career.

    It’s a lot easier to win playoff games when you have the #1 defense and only need to score 13-17 points, but once the defense fell off from elite to only very good despite the Steelers constantly surrounding him with quality receivers (I’m not sure another team has been better at drafting receivers over the last two decades), he didn’t accomplish much.

    He made some nice highlight-reel plays from week to week, but he was never great at managing games and had a knack for making some ill-timed, bone-headed plays too.

  21. Ben lasted 18 years. Not many QB’s can say that. He should’ve been traded when he had his local difficulty, but wasn’t. The Rooneys and the Steelers have done right by him. Ben should acknowledge that, and ride off into the sunset with his brains and his money intact with gratitude.

  22. Even if they brought him back, they would have to have either drafted a guy with their first round pick (probably Pickett) or brought in a veteran who could be a stopgap for a few years. Then you would have had a QB competition that would have turned into a full season of “who’s gonna start this week?” Maybe that makes sense to Ben and his agent, but not to anyone else.

  23. Unpopular opinion, but I think Roethlisberger held this team back for the better part of his career.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Even in his last year Ben led the NFL with 7 Game Winning Drives despite the run defense. Career wise, he tied with Brady for second all time (53) behind Manning (54). I guess they held their team back too.

  24. The real problem with the Steelers offense the last two years is that they were incapable of picking up a 3rd and 1 by running between the tackles. If you can’t pick up, 3rd and short by running between the tackles, then you have to run low percentage plays and you end up with a lot of 3 and outs and a lot of stalled drives. There aren’t many offenses that have been very good when unable to pick up a 3rd and short by running between the tackles. The only exception I can think of has been the Kansas City Chiefs.

    To me, Ben looked fine, but he was no longer the kind of QB who could play behind a bad offensive line is all.

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