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Monday, January 20, 2020

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger suffers elbow injury against Seahawks

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury in the first half of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Roethlisberger was seen flexing his right arm and wincing while grabbing his elbow/forearm area on more than one occasion. He remained in the game at the time, but he was clearly experiencing some sort of discomfort and headed to the locker room before halftime.

The Steelers later announced that Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury, and he was replaced by Mason Rudolph in the second half.

The Steelers were looking to bounce back after their 33-3 blowout loss to the New England Patriots in Week 1. Roethlisberger completed 8-of-15 passes for 75 yards on Sunday prior to heading to the locker room to be examined.

Steelers players critical of Ben Roethlisberger’s practice habits, leadership

Ben Roethlisberger

It is no secret that Ben Roethlisberger had serious issues with Antonio Brown on both a personal and professional level when the two were teammates, but the drama between the two has left many wondering if the quarterback has trouble getting along with other Pittsburgh Steelers players. At the very least, it seems clear that Big Ben is far from a perfect leader.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler interviewed more than 25 people — including current and former teammates — about Roethlisberger’s leadership skills and work habits. While many were complimentary of the two-time Super Bowl champion and pointed to a body of work that speaks for itself, the overall theme is that Big Ben can improve as a leader and has been making efforts to do so.

One current Steelers player who is described as having “quality starter experience” told Fowler he has no relationship with Roethlisberger. That seems to be true of other players as well, as former Pittsburgh running back Josh Harris says Roethlisberger didn’t speak with him for over a month after he was promoted from the practice squad in 2014. Even then, Big Ben only made an effort to establish a relationship with Harris when Le’Veon Bell went down with an injury in Week 17.

“That’s where it kind of rubs people the wrong way,” Harris said. “When you come out and [criticize a teammate the way Roethlisberger has with Brown] and there is no preexisting relationship, [it’s harder to] say, ‘OK, he’s saying this because he wants me to be a better player.'”

Veteran linebacker Vince Williams said he thinks some younger players are “starstruck” by Roethlisberger, and he has told the quarterback it’s on him to become more approachable. Roethlisberger acknowledges that, and it’s one of the reasons he hosted teammates at his home in Georgia during the offseason.

After the 2018 season, Brown went scorched-earth on Roethlisberger and criticized him for having an “owner mentality.” One current Steelers player referred to Big Ben as “the owner” while speaking with Fowler.

Then there’s the idea of special treatment, which you could easily argue Roethlisberger has earned. However, several former Steelers players who have played with other QBs said they were surprised Roethlisberger takes days off from practice, usually using Wednesdays as rest days.

“Fair or not, one player said, Roethlisberger’s penchant for missing practices almost weekly and then coaching players hard when he participates can seem to suggest that everyone is on his time,” Fowler wrote.

The Steelers have spoken a lot about having better chemistry now that Brown and Bell are out of the picture, but they will be leaning heavily on Roethlisberger to help them find a new (or old?) identity. While Big Ben has had plenty of current and former teammates enthusiastically defend his leadership abilities, he clearly falls short in some areas.

Deion Sanders thinks Ben Roethlisberger could retire before end of season

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers could not have gotten off to a much worse start to the season with their 33-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday night, and Deion Sanders thinks a few more performances like that could inspire the star quarterback to walk away from football a lot sooner than expected.

How much sooner? Sanders said after Sunday’s game that he does not think Roethlisberger will make it through the 2019 season.

“I think mentally, physically, something’s gonna shut down, because what I saw today was a lackluster effort by the offense, by the defense, by the coaching staff, by everyone,” Sanders said. “He seemed not engaged. There was no big-play ability, no running game, nothing ever got going defensively. He seemed disinterested.

“We’ve all heard the murmurs of Big Ben saying he would like to retire. The way they played today, a couple more of those games, I think that would happen.”

Roethlisberger openly contemplated retirement two years ago, but that seemed like it was more about him being frustrated after a poor performance than anything. He has since gone out of his way to squash the retirement talk, and it seems highly unlikely that he would bail on the Steelers midseason.

All that said, Roethlisberger is 37 and has battled some injuries throughout his career. If the 2019 season turns out to be a disappointment and the Steelers miss the playoffs, it would not be a surprise if Big Ben makes it his last.

Ben Roethlisberger on Patriots adding Antonio Brown: ‘Whatever’

Ben Roethlisberger

The Pittsburgh Steelers were dominated in their season opener against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, so it should come as no surprise that the last person any of their players wanted to talk about after the game was Antonio Brown.

Fresh off his team’s 33-3 loss at Gillette Stadium, Ben Roethlisberger was asked if he had any thoughts about the Patriots signing Brown, who used to be his most trusted target. He gave a very simple one-word response.

Roethlisberger wasn’t the only Steeler who had zero interest in talking about his former teammate. Offensive lineman Ramon Foster was asked a similar question, and he was even more animated in dismissing it.

“Please, never ask me about him again,” Foster said, via CBS Boston.

The Steelers talked all offseason about how much better their chemistry is now that Brown and Le’Veon Bell are no longer with the team, and that may be true. However, it clearly did not translate into better results on Sunday. Their offense was completely stagnant, and their defense looked like it almost always does against Tom Brady in New England.

We already know Pittsburgh’s brass didn’t want Brown ending up in New England, and that became even more clear when we heard Al Michaels’ report prior to Sunday’s game. Roethlisberger attempted to take the high road when discussing Brown during the offseason, but the star receiver unloaded on him once again. That’s almost certainly among the reasons Ben is done talking about it.

The Steelers still have a good chance to be a playoff team in the AFC, but the questions about Brown and Bell will only get more and more frustrating if their offense continues to struggle.

Antonio Brown rips Ben Roethlisberger, says they were ‘never friends’

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is not content to just burn a bridge. He also feels the need to urinate on the ashes, too.

Brown went on Twitter Tuesday and decided to rip his former quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In an interview with Michele Tafoya that aired on Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said he regretted calling out Brown last season. Roethlisberger said that calling out Brown ruined their friendship.

Brown, who was traded by Pittsburgh to the Oakland Raiders over the offseason, replied on Twitter. He said the two were “never friends” and told Big Ben to “shut up already.”

We knew that Brown did not like Roethlisberger based on previous tweets he sent during the offseason. While some may have thought that was a tactic to force the Steelers to trade him, it’s clear that Brown’s dislike for Big Ben continues. It also shows based on past tweets that either Brown was a phony or his dislike of Big Ben is a new thing:

Brown’s insistence on being a jerk instead of just letting things go shows immaturity. Of course, immature behavior has been the theme of training camp for Brown, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise, unfortunately.

Ben Roethlisberger regrets calling out Antonio Brown

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger says he regrets calling out former teammate Antonio Brown.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback sat down with Michele Tafoya for an interview that played during “Sunday Night Football” between the Steelers and Tennessee Titans. In the interview, Roethlisberger expressed regret over his criticism of the former Steelers star.

“I wish I wouldn’t have done it,” Roethlisberger told Tafoya. He was asked why and said, “because we saw what happened. Obviously it ruined a friendship. I just got caught up in the emotion and heat of the battle.”

Roethlisberger’s point in bringing up the James Washington comparison is to delineate how different players respond to criticism. For some, the criticism results in positive changes. For others, it works out the wrong way, like it did with Brown.

Roethlisberger has said throughout the offseason that he regretted his criticism. Roethlisberger says Brown was upset over Big Ben blaming Brown for an interception during a game against the Broncos. Big Ben also apologized publicly in May. Even after Brown had been traded to the Oakland Raiders, Roethlisberger says Brown still wouldn’t let him apologize.

The two had their issues for a while, which is expected to be the case from longtime teammates. Roethlisberger also called Brown out for pouting two years ago. The two were at odds the next season over the national anthem, and then they had their infamous altercation at the end of last season.

The way Brown has handled his helmet situation in Oakland makes Roethlisberger a more sympathetic figure in this situation. Brown just hasn’t seemed to be in the right frame of mind. Refusing to let his former quarterback apologize shows how stubborn he’s become.

10 NFL players who could regress in 2019

Patrick Mahomes

Every year there are NFL players who progress in their development and sometimes take the league by storm. On the opposite end, there are players who regress.

Regression doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a diminishing talent, but rather, it could be a product of a variety of factors. There could be coaching staff changes, scheme changes, a decreased role or any number of things contributing to regression. Sometimes it’s all of the above, and sometimes it really is just time to call it a career.

Here’s a look at 10 NFL players who could, for one reason or another, regress in 2019.

10. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

After a wildly impressive 2018 campaign in which he tossed 35 touchdowns at a rate of 8.2 percent, it would be hard to imagine Wilson falling off a cliff. However, when considering that the aforementioned 8.2 percent touchdown rate was the seventh-highest in NFL history, it’s unlikely Wilson is capable of repeating or improving upon that number. And despite the added presence of rookie second-round pick D.K. Metcalf, the Seahawks don’t exactly boast an impressive cast at wide receiver or tight end, so it stands to reason that Wilson will regress simply because his career-best performance in 2018 is unsustainable.