Friday Football Footnotes: Backing Big Ben continues
For “Friday Football Footnotes” this week, two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization made sure that the recent wave of support for Ben Roethlisberger continued.
There has been a unified response from the organization of late, after a few months when the Steelers quarterback was slapped around in the media by former players such as Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
The first to do so this week was Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer. On Tuesday, he was on Kristine Leahy’s “Fair Game” show. Switzer made it clear that Brown’s negative opinion about Roethlisberger was not a universal opinion.
“If he wasn’t practicing, he would be looking to make sure we are on the same page,” Switzer said. “He reached out a bunch. He didn’t know me from anything.
“I didn’t want to let him down because I knew he trusted me and was expecting me to come through for him.”
Switzer went on to tell a story about how Roethlisberger was the first player on the team to check in with him after his wife had a car accident. That was even before Switzer had given Big Ben his phone number.
Switzer also mentioned how, prior to the club’s victory in Jacksonville last year, Roethlisberger tracked him down in the locker room to tell him that the team’s losses to the Jaguars the previous season were in part because Switzer wasn’t on the roster.
As Switzer even acknowledges in the interview, clearly that was a stretch. But he admitted the confidence boost he was given through those words helped him get fired up for that game.
If you are a wide receiver and your team drafts one guy at your position, retains another, and signs a third … it’s probably best to let the quarterback know how much you like him.
I’m sure Switzer was genuine with what he said. But a little fist bump on television for the signal caller is never a bad thing.
Then there was general manager Kevin Colbert. He appeared with Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk on Wednesday. Colbert explained why the team and Roethlisberger decided that three years was an appropriate length for his recently executed contract extension.
“I know he doesn’t have an expiration date,” Colbert said. “We just felt that (the contract) was a foreseeable future that we were able to do, and he was agreeable to. But I’m sure that he doesn’t have an expiration date. I know that he’s still very competitive. He still wants to do this at a high level.
“He doesn’t need money, he doesn’t need Hall of Fame credentials in my opinion. He’s already achieved both of those. What he wants is more Super Bowls.”
Let’s not get too crazy, Kevin. Ben may not need money. He apparently wanted quite a bit, though. After all, he’s going to make $34 million per year. I’m sure he could’ve asked you for more. But this isn’t exactly the Tom Brady “Who cares? Our family has Gisele’s money, too” kind of contract TB12 previously signed in New England. Roethlisberger is slated to be the second-highest paid quarterback in the league by 2020.
Another good reason for Switzer to stay tight with Big Ben.