A year after considering retirement, the Steelers quarterback won’t leave a team with this much talent
The league’s two top quarterbacks might also be the two most dissatisfied—with Charles Robinson recently reporting on Aaron Rodgers‘s frustration with Packers management and Seth Wickersham previously unearthing tension between Tom Brady and his bosses. For much of the past two years, the NFL’s (arguably) third-most accomplished passer could match those two for displeasure as much as talent. Ben Roethlisberger publicly discussed retirement last season, reportedly after receiving “biting words” from then-coordinator Todd Haley, and there’s been plenty of temporary discussions about his qualms with Mike Tomlin, or his disappointment regarding Antonio Brown, even doubt in his own ability. Now, there’s seemingly none of that.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger said, ” I plan on playing for three to five more years.” He also said that he told coaches and ownership the same thing, allowing them to plan long-term. The reason for the contentment is clear. Roethlisberger is no longer working with Haley (nor wideout Martavis Bryant, who was traded to Oakland), while what remains is one of the most talented offenses in the league: three 2018 Pro Bowlers on the offensive line, All-Pros at running back and wide receiver, and a rising star in JuJu Smith-Schuster. I’d stick around to play with that group too, even if the Steelers brass might be ready to begin transitioning to the future (possibly including rookie Mason Rudolph) sooner rather than later.
Reading deeply into Roethlisberger’s words has been a fool’s errand over the past couple of years, and I wouldn’t bet much on him actually suiting up for the 2022 season. But while the recent statements might not prove accurate, they provide a window into the 36-year-old’s current psyche—a sign that he’s as happy as ever entering the 2018 season. Now, we’ll have to see if a satisfied Roethlisberger proves more capable of achieving the ultimate satisfaction of a championship, which has eluded Pittsburgh since 2008.
NOW ON THE MMQB: Conor Orr looks ahead to the 2019 draft … Jenny Vrentas spends 24 hours with Bradley Chubb and his team at the draft … Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling dive deep (then go deeper) in their draft recap podcast episode … and more.
1. Tom Brady made headlines during an hourlong Q-and-A, saying he wished Malcolm Butler had played in the Super Bowl (and that he didn’t know why Butler was benched) and that Bill Belichick is not an easy coach to play for, even if he maximizes talent. Brady also addressed the NFL’s falling ratings, players kneeling for the anthem, and how his family feels about him continuing to play such a demanding sport.
2. Browns VP of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith had some interesting things to say about how Cleveland ended up picking Baker Mayfield instead of Sam Darnold, as well as a Josh Rosen anecdote involving meeting a UCLA volleyball coach in an airport that I’m still trying to decipher.
3. Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn was reportedly involved in a suspected domestic violence incident that led to a visit from the police, though he and his wife issued a joint statement Monday saying, “there was NO physical altercation. The two are in the middle of a divorce and it is a hard time for both parties.”
4. The Columbus Dispatch spent time with Isaiah Pead, the former running back whose career ended after a car accident 18 months ago, as he tries to figure out what comes next.
5. A handful of reporters were taken inside the Colts’ drafts room after the weekend’s proceedings to see why the team chose the players it did. Here’s what the writers learned.
6. Former Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett has signed in New Orleans as an undrafted free agent.
7. Reuben Foster‘s domestic violence case has taken a turn, as the woman involved recanted her allegations and claimed she received her injuries during a separate dispute with another person.
8. Each NFC North team was assigned an foreign player who won’t count against their practice squad limit as part of the International Player Pathway program. Among the group is Chris Ezeala, who played fullback and punter in the German Football League, and former rugby player Christian Scotland-Williamson.
9. The Earl Thomas-to-Dallas rumors may have died over the weekend after the Cowboys reportedly refused to send a second-round pick to Seattle for the safety.
10. Football players who started playing tackle football before turning 12 developed behavioral and mood issues earlier in life than other players, a recent study found.
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I’m mesmerized by new Giants head coach Pat Shurmur‘s philosophy regarding practice jersey colors. “My experience with that is the shade or the color of the target moving around the field, it helps the quarterback to practice in those colors,” he said.
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