James Harrison calls Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger ‘good leader’
James Harrison is coming to the defense of Ben Roethlisberger.
Harrison, the former star linebacker, made the rounds on FS1 shows Monday. He was asked about his former longtime teammate with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Roethlisberger, in the wake of former teammates Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell taking shots at Roethlisberger.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) March 25, 2019
“The people that are saying he’s a bad teammate, that’s their truth,” Harrison said on Colin Cowherd’s show. “That’s their understanding as far as their relationship they have with him. For me, I think Ben is a good teammate, and he’s a good leader.”
Harrison acknowledged his view of Roethlisberger differs from that of the current Steelers because Harrison’s tenure with the team predates that of Roethlisberger. Harrison was more of a peer and, it could be argued, was a more important player to the Steelers over the first handful of Roethlisberger’s seasons.
Players who became teammates with Roethlisberger in recent years were seeing a man who is a decade or more their senior, one who was established in the organization and more comfortable with his superiors.
“Them saying he as ‘an owner’s mentality,’ you see him talking to the head coach, the GM, the owners, and a lot of guys are nervous or think that he’s unapproachable,” Harrison said to Cowherd. “I came in, and I was already there, so I met a rookie. I met a different player, so it was easier for me to bond with him.”
Harrison pointed to the support Roethlisberger has gotten from the Steelers offensive linemen. And he suggested if there was a breakdown in the relationship between Roethlisberger and Brown and/or Bell, it was as much their fault as it was the quarterback’s.
Harrison said while the linemen and Roethlisberger routinely meet up away from formal team functions, neither Bell nor Brown formed those bonds with Roethlisberger.
“With AB and Le’Veon, maybe they felt like they should have been closer, or they wanted to be closer,” Harrison said. “If that’s what you wanted, maybe you should have tried to build that relationship.”
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 25, 2019
Harrison, who also spoke on the FS1 show “Undisputed,” addressed the accusation by former Steelers running back Josh Harris that Roethlisberger fumbled on purpose during a 2014 game because Roethlisberger was unhappy offensive coordinator Todd Haley called a running play.
Harrison said “I don’t see that,” and added the play in question wasn’t even discussed in the locker room or among players after it happened.
“I don’t even remember it,” Harrison told Cowherd.
Bro you couldn’t have said it better bro. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 https://t.co/H8KaY6KJif
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) March 25, 2019
Injured Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier publicly endorsed Harrison’s thoughts, saying in a tweet from his verified account that quoted a video clip of Harrison’s “Undisputed” segment: “Bro you couldn’t have said it better bro,” followed by four “prayer” emojis.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .