I’ve been told more than once that I need to know when to shut up. After forty plus years on the planet I have still not learned this lesson. Pittsburgh Steelers’ Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sometimes has the same problem. But rather than shutting up, Big Ben just needs to not say anything period. That’s hard considering he’s the team’s quarterback and goes on the radio every week to be interviewed.
This past Tuesday on his weekly radio show the topic of injuries came up. Once again the Steelers are battling the injury bug more than other teams seem to be. “We have a lot of injuries,” Roethlisberger said on his radio spot on 93.7 The Fan Tuesday. “I think a lot of our stuff stems from we’re one of the most physical football teams in training camp, in practice, you know. We do more hitting than most teams do and more [practices in] pads.”
He would add later, “We talk about being a physical football team and we are a physical football team, but we also have to take care of our guys.” (h/t post-gazette.com)
I really had not even planned to write about this this week but then ESPN decided it needed to explore the situation further. They had a special segment with Mark Schlereth where he questioned whether this was a sign of a “communication issue” between the Steelers’ players and coaches. Actually what this is, is a sign of what happens every time Roethlisberger says something that could be deemed as “controversial.”
When you look at the injuries the players have suffered, the majority have been in games rather than practice. This doesn’t mean however that these injuries couldn’t have been prevented with less physical practices but there’s no definitive way to confirm that. My guess is that some players went to Big Ben with their concerns and he aired those.
While Mike Tomlin isn’t a fan of that, I think this is a “whole lot of nothing” to get worked up about. Collective bargaining has severely limited the amount of contact these guys can have anyway. Should Big Ben have said anything? Probably not but he is who he is and isn’t changing that.
This entire dust up actually has less to do with the content and more to do with the speaker. All quarterbacks are under a microscope but few are under the one Big Ben is. There are still many (in the media especially) who harbor ill feelings towards him and any chance they get to make a mountain out of a mole hill they will.
As usual, the overreaction to this was predictable and not unexpected.