How Much of a Dink is Ben Roethlisberger Being?

SourceOne year after “seriously” contemplating retirement, Ben Roethlisberger is struggling with the Steelers’ decision to draft Mason Rudolph as his heir apparent. … [On] KDKA’s Cook and Poni in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger expressed further displeasure, questioning the allocation of resources toward another potential quarterback of the future. …

“I was surprised when they took a quarterback,” Roethlisberger said Friday, “because I thought that maybe in the third round, you can get some really good football players that can help this team now. And nothing against Mason, I think he’s a great football player … I just don’t know how backing up or being the third guy, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart, but helps us win now.”

A generous assessment of Roethlisberger’s reaction would concede that he’s simply being overprotective of his mates in the 2017 quarterback room, [Landry] Jones and [Josh] Dobbs.

“Those two guys are who I feel the worst for,” Roethlisberger offered. “I’ll be honest, I wasn’t worried about [Rudolph] coming and taking my job. I feel confident that I can go out and beat whoever I need to beat out for my job. … I do feel bad for those guys.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I assume Landry’s still the two, I don’t really know. And Josh, same thing. Last year you take him in the fourth round, so does that mean the Steelers screwed up in that pick? Like do they think that he wasn’t the one that they thought, or has he not developed the way they thought? Why else would you take a quarterback in the third round the next year?”

AndAsked about mentoring Rudolph, Roethlisberger was blunt.

“I don’t think I’ll need to, now that he said he doesn’t need me. If he asks me a question, I might just have to point to the playbook,” Roethlisberger said with a laugh.

Rudolph told the media on draft night that it’s not up to Roethlisberger to teach him anything, and that it’s his own job to learn.

A lot was made over the weekend – at least in the places that weren’t frying bigger fish like the hockey and basketball playoffs – over Roethlisberger and trying to assess just how much of a dick he was being to Mason Rudolph. And I have to say that looking over all his comments and judging him on a scale of Zero to John Bender, I’m only giving him about a 6.5.

I mean, I get why everyone who read what he said is giving him so much grief for it. Rudolph, on the biggest night of his life, gets asked if he expects to be “mentored” by Roethlisberger and says exactly the right thing. That it’s up to him to put in the work. In other words, a 22-year-old who hasn’t earned a subatomic particle of respect in the league yet chooses not to be presumptuous and assume an established veteran will Miyagi him. And Roethlisberger spins that to make it sound like the rookie is saying he won’t need help. And previews the degree of next level douchey passive/aggressiveness that will be greeting the kid in the QB meetings all season. Just total assholery from a guy with two rings.

The reason I don’t rate it higher on the Bender scale is that this is life for incoming rookies in the NFL. Especially quarterbacks drafted to pose existential threats to established quarterbacks. As a matter of fact, while uber-douche Brett Favre famously said it wasn’t his job to tutor rookie Aaron Rodgers, he was just being honest and I can’t think of one example where an elite QB ever said anything different. I have no doubt that owning four rings didn’t prevent the notoriously dickish Joe Montana from hating Steve Young. And while we all remember an injured 2001 Drew Bledsoe selflessly sucking it up for the greater good by coaching up a young Tom Brady, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t really a 6-5, 240 lb tower of resentment behind the scenes. It would go against human nature for an Alpha competitor as fierce as he was not to be. So I kind of get Roethlisberger’s attitude toward Rudolph.

Where he doesn’t get a pass from me is what he’s saying about his team. A year ago at this time he was openly debating his future and the nature of his existence like the Hamlet of Western Pennsylvania. Now it’s going up his crack sideways that his team would have the audacity to spend a third round pick on a borderline first round QB prospect? Newsflash, Ben: It’s not your call. It might not be your job to mentor your replacement, but it’s for goddamned certain not your job to tell your employers who to draft and what constitutes a “screwed up” pick. And he can cut the shit with pretending that he’s just worried about his backups, not himself. Like he’s the Champion of the Working Man or something because he’s all set but these poor unfortunates might be out of work because of it. Nothing says “I’m worried about losing my job” like saying “I’m not worried about losing my job.” So if I’m running the Steelers, I’d be on the phone now reminding Roethlisberger his job is to win playoff games, not to give up 50 yard scoop & score fumbles and lose to Jacksonville and go one and done. And for sure not to tell his bosses not to draft a spot where the starter has been talking retirement for two years.

Anyway, not to make this about the Patriots, but this is yet another one of those times when I have no choice but to ask, imagine if Tom Brady had said something like this? He never said anything but positive things about Jimmy G and there were reporters measuring how far away he stood from him in stretching drills. Who are now convinced he got ownership to force a trade. If he’d talked shit about him the way Roethlisberger has Mason Rudolph, they’d have charged him with a hate crime.

 @jerrythornton1