Mike Singletary makes surprising claim about turning down Ben Roethlisberger trade
Ben Roethlisberger on Thursday officially announced his retirement from the NFL as expected. He spent his entire career with the Steelers and is synonymous with the franchise. But apparently there was a time when the franchise was prepared to move on from him.
Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary revealed in an interview published by The Athletic’s Dan Pompei this week that the Niners had a deal in place to acquire Big Ben in a trade. Moreover, Singletary claimed he actually vetoed the deal.
Alex Smith was 49ers’ quarterback at the time. Singletary said he told Smith he believed in him and would give him a chance after the former No. l draft pick had been a disappointment to start his NFL career. Additionally, the Steelers were willing to trade Roethlisberger at the time due to his the sexual assault allegations he faced. Singletary felt it would send a conflicting message to his players if they acquired Big Ben when Singletary was preaching having high-character players.
Big Ben was accused of sexual assault both in 2009 and 2010. It’s unclear whether these trade talks took place prior to the 2009 or 2010 season, but Roethlisberger ended up remaining with the Steelers for the rest of his career. He was suspended four games to start the 2010 season though.
Singletary didn’t last long as the Niners’ head coach, as he was fired in 2010, midway through his second full season on the job. He was ultimately replaced by Jim Harbaugh, who wound up replacing Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick too.
But Roethlisberger is so identifiable as a Steelers player, it’s kind of hard to look back now and consider that Pittsburgh at one point was ready to trade him.
H/T Steelers Depot
Photo: 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