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#pounditWednesday, May 29, 2024

Ben Roethlisberger explains why he initially rooted against Kenny Pickett

Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass

Nov 25, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made a rather blunt admission about his initial feelings toward his successor last season.

Roethlisberger had Steelers QB Kenny Pickett as a guest on his “Footbahlin” podcast, and admitted that he had been rooting against the rookie to succeed in 2022.

“I’ll be completely honest, I’ll be super transparent here. I’m gonna get blasted, probably shouldn’t say this, but who cares at this point? I wouldn’t say I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail, but when someone comes to replace you and I still feel like I had it, I hope he doesn’t come ball out, because then it’s like Ben who, right?” Roethlisberger said. “But as you started playing, I found myself rooting more and more for you.

“Early on, I didn’t want him to succeed, because he 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 added that he was quickly won over by Pickett’s talent and found himself rooting for his successor quite quickly.

This is a pretty honest admission, but not necessarily a surprising one. Roethlisberger seemed to have some bitterness at how his Steelers career ended, as he hinted at being pushed into retirement by the team. He was also pretty chilly toward Mason Rudolph when Rudolph was drafted by Pittsburgh in 2018. It all adds up to give the impression of someone who very much did not want to give up his job, and was probably going to resent Pickett for taking it.

Roethlisberger did seem to warm quickly to Pickett, as he suggested. Ultimately, it is not like he had much of a choice.

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