Ben Roethlisberger is a guy who allegedly knows a thing or two about taking selfish actions at the expense of others, but that doesn’t mean he’s above chastising others over that mindset. However, at least one of his former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates takes offense at that sentiment.
Last week, Big Ben sat down with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for an interview about his career, how it ended, his thoughts on rookie Kenny Pickett, and his thoughts on the state of the game. During the interview, the retired NFL star said “the game has changed” and “people have changed” when discussing the difference between his early career and later years with the Steelers.
“The team was so important,” Roethlisberger said, in reference to the first few seasons in Pittsburgh. “It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other.
“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win, too. I know coach [Terry] Hoeppner never coddled me. Neither did [Bill] Cowher.”
Pittsburgh Steelers captain Cameron Heyward, who played alongside Roethlisber since 2011, bristled at those comments during a discussion on the “Not Just Football with Cam Heyward” podcast.
“It looks as though we are looked at as selfish players, and I don’t think that’s the point,” Heyward said, via Audacy. “We have a lot of young players that come from different backgrounds, have experienced different things from what others or I may have experienced. That doesn’t make them selfish or more of a me-type attitude. … There are a lot more team-first guys than me-type attitude. I took offense to that.”
Heyward also said that “it’s up to the leadership, myself included” to help get young players settled in the NFL.
Roethlisberger notably developed a reputation for throwing teammates under the bus and generally being unfriendly to other quarterbacks on the roster. So his opinion on the state of current NFL players might not exactly be coming from a fair place.