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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Ben Roethlisberger

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.

(more…)

Ben Roethlisberger does not consider Steelers underdogs

Ben Roethlisberger

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in an unfamiliar position heading into 2019, as Las Vegas oddsmakers consider them an underdog to win the AFC North behind — believe it or not — the Cleveland Browns. It does not sound like Ben Roethlisberger sees it that way, however.

While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Roethlisberger was asked for his thoughts on the Steelers being viewed as underdogs. He didn’t exactly say the team is embracing that role.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Roethlisberger said with a smirk. “We’re still the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’re still gonna go out and try to win every football game. It’s been a long time since we’ve been to the big one, but if everyone puts forth the effort that we all think we can with the talent we have in this room, we feel confident we can be pretty good.”

There are obviously a lot of question marks surrounding the Steelers this year after the departures of both Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. However, they’re confident James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster can continue to be productive, and head coach Mike Tomlin has implied he feels the team will be better off without Brown and Bell.

Even if they don’t want to admit they are underdogs behind the Browns, Roethlisberger and his teammates would be wise to make the most of that perception.

JuJu Smith-Schuster backs Ben Roethlisberger in Twitter post

It’s safe to say that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is a fan of his quarterback.

Smith-Schuster, the newly-anointed No. 1 wide receiver for the Steelers, made perfectly clear his support of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with a Twitter post on Saturday afternoon that seemed timed to send a message.

Every comment Smith-Schuster makes out of the blue about Roethlisberger is going to look like shade at this point. It’s in stark contrast to Antonio Brown, who seems to comment on every public comment anyone from Pittsburgh makes about him after his acrimonious departure to Oakland.

The relationship between Brown and Smith-Schuster also turned toxic after the trade. It may be that the Steelers wide receiver is just pumping up his quarterback, but given the circumstances of the offseason, it’s always going to look like more than that.

Ben Roethlisberger: Antonio Brown won’t let me apologize in person

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger says he has tried to settle any issues that exist between him and Antonio Brown, but his former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate does not seem interested in hearing what the quarterback has to say.

In an interview with KDKA in Pittsburgh on Monday, Roethlisberger publicly apologized to Brown for going too far in his criticism of him, particularly when he blamed Brown for an interception in a game against the Denver Broncos last year. Big Ben then explained on Tuesday that he has tried to bury the hatchet with Brown in private, but the new Oakland Raiders star won’t respond to his calls or texts.

“I would have loved to have had the chance to talk to him,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why I said (Monday), whatever I did to offend him, I apologize for it. I tried to do that in person, talk to him. He wouldn’t allow me to.”

Roethlisberger sounds like he is being sincere, but Brown does not seem to be buying it. Shortly after Ben’s interview aired on Monday, Brown sent a cryptic tweet that many believe was a direct response.

Last season was not the first time Roethlisberger had criticized Brown, as he also called him 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.

Perhaps Brown and Big Ben will hug it out one day, but now obviously is not the time.