Roethlisberger: 'I have earned the right' to criticize Steelers teammates
With 15 pro seasons, two Super Bowl rings and the seventh-most career passing yards in NFL history on his résumé, Ben Roethlisberger believes it’s part of his job description to publicly level constructive criticism of teammates.
“I think I have earned the right to be able to do that with as long as I have been here,” the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said Wednesday, “and I’ll just be just as critical of myself (in the media), as well.”
A day earlier during his weekly 93.7 radio segment, Roethlisberger expressed a level of dissatisfaction with at least three of his teammates/coaches.
• Receiver Antonio Brown’s route on a late interception during a loss at Denver on Sunday : “I told him, ‘You have to come in flat. You can’t drift in the end zone.’ ”
• Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner’s playcalling on the final drive of that game: “I think we should have went to (JuJu Smith-Schuster) four straight plays.”
• Rookie James Washington’s drop earlier in the loss to the Broncos : “You’re not going to be out there if you‘re not going to make those plays for us.”
That’s a veteran Hall of Fame-caliber player, a superior of Roethlisberger’s and a rookie with eight career catches. Roethlisberger is unafraid to call out any of them. How did he think he earned that right?
“Being around for a long time with a lot of different players,” Roethlisberger said. “You have to know how to motivate different guys in different ways. I think that’s part of being a leader, being a captain, just understanding players. Sometimes you just grab them off to the side, and sometimes you have to be honest with them.”
How does Roethlisberger think teammates receive it when he publicly criticizes them?
“Go ask them,” he said. “I have no idea.
“I would hope that they would understand that as the quarterback and the captain that I have the right to do those things. I don’t feel like I abuse that situation. So I don’t think it’s an issue, but you would have to ask them.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.