Ben Roethlisberger admits that he was ambivalent about Kenny Pickett following in his footsteps as the Steelers’ franchise quarterback.
Roethlisberger had Pickett as the guest on his podcast and told Pickett that he was nervous about Pickett playing so well that people would be glad the Steelers moved on.
“I’ll be completely honest, I’ll be super transparent here and I’m gonna get blasted,” Roethlisberger said. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but who cares at this point. I wouldn’t say that I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail, but when someone comes to replace you, I still feel like I had it, I hope he doesn’t come ball out. Because then it’s like, Ben who?”
Roethlisberger said that especially in Pickett’s first few starts, it was hard to want him to win.
“Early on I didn’t want you to succeed because you followed me up, I didn’t want it to happen. I think that’s probably the selfishness of me, and I feel bad for it,” Roethlisberger said.
But Roethlisberger told Pickett that after watching him, he came to appreciate him.
“As you started playing, I found myself rooting more and more for you,” Roethlisberger told Pickett. “I wanted you to succeed, I wanted you to win games, I wanted you to go in the playoffs. I feel bad that I felt that early on but I’m glad I transitioned to loving and rooting for you.”
Pickett told Roethlisberger that he appreciates his support, and his candor. Roethlisberger is surely not the only great player who feels that way after walking away.