Former Steelers teammate: Ben Roethlisberger fumbled on purpose |
Tim Benz, Columnist

Former Steelers teammate: Ben Roethlisberger fumbled on purpose

Tim Benz
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plays against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Pittsburgh.

You know the “Steelers circus” Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II insist never existed? The one that is a total media creation and fabrication? Well, here’s another imaginary dancing bear to throw into the ring.

Former Steelers running back Josh Harris — someone even die-hard Steelers fans may not remember — is accusing Ben Roethlisberger of fumbling on purpose in the regular season finale of 2014.

Harris was in that game because Le’Veon Bell got hurt and LeGarrette Blount had been released a few weeks prior for leaving the field early during a game against the Titans.

The Steelers then had signed Ben Tate for the playoff game against Baltimore. And they lost. Harris had five carries for 7 yards in that Cincinnati game. He had 25 yards on nine carries in the Baltimore game.

I looked up the sequence. The play happened as Harris describes. Here’s a video montage from Steelers Depot of the play, too.

Is it a stretch to suggest Big Ben would try to fumble on purpose just to make Todd Haley look bad? Yes.

But is it possible knowing how minor of a turnover that would’ve been and how much Roethlisberger disliked Haley? Yes.

Is this something Harris perhaps may have been imagining because of some sort of inferiority complex he has? In other words, is he assuming a fake fumble because Roethlisberger didn’t want to give him the ball? Or is he maybe just bitter they went out and got Tate in the first place?

Yes, yes and yes.

Is it also strange that Roethlisberger was so upset about the play call that he allegedly fumbled on purpose, didn’t say anything out loud and just did it to please himself? Again. Yes.

I suppose you can’t rule out this theory entirely if you are someone prone to assume the worst of Roethlisberger. It’s the perfect kind of passive-aggressive slap Roethlisberger would love to give Haley and then hope someone asked him about on his radio sh … uh, I mean … in his postgame news conference.

Although, doesn’t it seem weird Harris would wait until now to give us this illuminating story. This wasn’t equally true, say, six months ago? Two years ago?

Perhaps it’s just so easy to pile on Roethlisberger these days that Harris felt as if this tale would now be accepted as fact. Harris is probably glomming onto the momentum of maligning Roethlisberger because it’s the fashionable thing to do.

Even if it is true, I have less respect for Harris waiting until now to say something about it. It seems like kind of a big deal. Maybe he should’ve said something when it was a little harder to say.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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