Jul 23, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, United States;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) talks with defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (97) before drills during training camp at the Rooney UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Heyward takes offense to Big Ben’s jab at current players

Pittsburgh Steelers captain Cameron Heyward didn’t take too kindly to former teammate Ben Roethlisberger’s recent claim that too many current NFL players are “coddled” and have a “me-type attitude.”

Roethlisberger’s comments were published Friday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“The team was so important,” Roethlisberger said, referring to his first few seasons with the Steelers. “It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other.

“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win, too. I know (former Miami of Ohio coach Terry) Hoeppner never coddled me. Neither did (former Steelers coach Bill) Cowher.”

Heyward, 33, was teammates with Roethlisberger from 2011 until the latter retired at the end of last season. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman admitted to being upset upon hearing the words of the former quarterback.

“It looks as though we are looked at as selfish players, and I don’t think that’s the point,” he said on the “Not Just Football with Cam Heyward” podcast. “We have a lot of young players that come from different backgrounds, have experienced different things from what others or I may have experienced. That doesn’t make them selfish or more of a me-type attitude. … There are a lot more team-first guys than me-type attitude. I took offense to that.”

Heyward made it clear that he wasn’t throwing shade at Roethlisberger.

“Don’t say Cam is calling out Ben — it’s not like that,” Heyward said. “But I will say, I’ll protect my team. I will make sure that everybody knows that we care only about football on the field and less about off the field. We can all understand Ben has been a heck of a QB. You don’t do this game and become a Hall of Fame quarterback and do it at a low level.

“Ben has taken some hits not a lot of other teams could do. He saved us, he won games we weren’t supposed to win, and he’s always stepped up. But it was the team around him that helped him do it, and I don’t want anyone to ever forget that the whole team won — not just Ben.”

Roethlisberger, 40, moved into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list on Dec. 19.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection played his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh, and he owns most of the franchise’s passing records, including completions (5,440), yards (64,088) and touchdowns (418). He led the Steelers to two Super Bowl victories.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ben: Monday vs. Browns likely last game at Heinz Field

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns likely will be his final one at Heinz Field.

“I don’t ever speak in definites or guarantees, that’s just not what I’ve ever done or who I am,” Roethlisberger said Thursday. “But looking at the bigger picture, I would say that all signs are pointing to this could be it. Regular season, that is — I know we still have a chance to potentially get a playoff game there if things fall our way and we take care of business and things have to happen. But in the grand scheme of things, in terms of regular season, signs are pointing that way, this could be it.”

Earlier this week, coach Mike Tomlin said he wasn’t interested in addressing the potential of Monday’s tilt serving as the final home game for Roethlisberger.

“I don’t know that it is going to impact anything relative to what we are intending to do or what he might intend to do,” Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger, who turns 40 in March, moved into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list on Dec. 19.

Roethlisberger has played his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh, and he owns most of the franchise’s passing records, including completions (5,386), yards (63,721) and touchdowns (416).

The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion has had one of his least productive seasons as a pro in 2021, throwing for 3,373 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) signals they will go for two points against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. They converted and won the game 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger to address playing status after season

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plans to discuss his playing status after this season.

Roethlisberger addressed the situation — well, somewhat — after Pittsburgh’s 20-19 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The topic was on the table after an ESPN report circulated that the 39-year-old had told some former teammates and those within the organization that he expects the 2021 season to be his last.

“I haven’t told everybody that, no,” Roethlisberger said. “Honestly, we just got done with this game, I’m exhausted. We play in a couple hours, it feels like. That’s my focus. My focus is on Minnesota and what we have to do to get ready.

“I’ll address any of that stuff after the season. I’ve always been a one-game-at-a-time, one-season-at-a-time person. I’m going to stay that way.”

Coach Mike Tomlin scoffed at the notion that Roethlisberger’s situation is a distraction for the Steelers (6-5-1).

“Ben doesn’t allow it to become an issue,” Tomlin said. “Ben has been pretty solid in terms of his expressions that he’s singularly focused on what we’re doing now. He’ll deal with those things on the other side of his journey, and I’m with him on it. So it’s not a distraction. I thought it was funny that it was seemingly a story this weekend, to be honest with you.”

Roethlisberger has played his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh, and he owns most of the franchise’s passing records, including completions (5,319), yards (63,106) and touchdowns (412).

The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion has had one of his least productive seasons as a pro in 2021, throwing for 2,758 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Jul 22, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, United States;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7 ) talks with head coach Mike Tomlin (right) during training camp at the Rooney UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin: Ben Roethlisberger is best QB for Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin came to the defense of struggling quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Tuesday.

When asked if the 39-year-old Roethlisberger is the best quarterback for the offense, Tomlin was quick with a response.

“Absolutely. What he does and what he’s done makes me really comfortable in saying that,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin also noted that Roethlisberger “has some hip issues” following Pittsburgh’s 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback also sustained a left pectoral injury following a 26-17 setback to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 19.

Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,033 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in four games for the Steelers (1-3), who have mustered just five offensive scores this season.

“It’s him some, it’s us collectively some,” Tomlin said. “We’re not looking to make excuses. We’ve had some big-play opportunities, we haven’t cashed in on them, and we need to cash in on them. They’re a big component to moving the ball and scoring, particularly when you’re not working as efficiently as you’d like on possession downs, which we aren’t. Chunk plays eliminate a lot of execution.”

Roethlisberger is playing in his 18th season in the NFL after signing a restructured contract that included a pay cut over the offseason. He’s spent the entirety of his pro career in Pittsburgh and won two Super Bowls with the Steelers.

Mason Rudolph and former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins are Tomlin’s other options at quarterback.

Rudolph, 26, has thrown for 2,089 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 career games with the Steelers. He was selected by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Haskins, a 2019 first-round pick of the Washington Football Team out of Ohio State, was released last year in his second season with the team due to a combination of poor performance and a lack of professionalism.

Haskins, 24, signed a one-year deal with the Steelers in January.

He has completed 60.1 percent (267 of 444) of his passes for 2,804 yards with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 16 career games (13 starts).

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Browns won 48-37. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers president: We can’t bring Big Ben back at cap hit

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II on Thursday left the door open for the potential return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the 2021 season.

Rooney, however, said Big Ben’s 18th season with the Steelers would not come with the sizable $41.25 million cap hit. Roethlisberger is due to earn $19 million next season, with $4 million in salary and $15 million coming as a roster bonus on the third day of the 2021 league year.

“We’ve left that door open,” Rooney said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We’ve been up front with Ben in letting him know that we couldn’t have him back under the current contract.”

Roethlisberger, who turns 39 in March, threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 15 games this past season. The two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl selection said after the wild-card loss to Cleveland on Jan. 10 that he has not made a decision about his future.

Roethlisberger threw for 501 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in that 48-37 loss to the Browns.

Roethlisberger has thrown for 60,348 yards with 396 touchdowns and 201 interceptions in 233 career games since Pittsburgh selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins signed a reserve/future contract with the Steelers last week. The transaction was seen as a low-risk move by the Steelers, who also have Mason Rudolph under contract while fellow quarterback Josh Dobbs is set for free agency.

–Field Level Media