Maybe one of the biggest storylines heading into draft weekend was the uncertain future of Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and the potential of him getting dealt. With the multitude of trades this weekend, I think if the Steelers were ever going to pull the trigger and trade away their two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, it would’ve been this weekend. However, that never came to fruition and it looks as if the Steelers will hang on to the quarterback despite the fact that he caused the team a lot of embarrassment and will be suspended for four to six games. Roethlisberger is a tremendous talent and Super Bowl winning quarterbacks are not easy to come by, but if he wants to regain his reputation within the NFL, he needs to start acting like a leader off the field as well as winning games on the field.
Bill Cowher joined WFAN in New York with Boomer and Carton to talk Big Ben’s suspension, how Ben was received in the locker room when he was in Pittsburgh, and whether or not he thinks Roethlisberger will be traded.
On the suspension that Ben Roethlisberger received:
“I think it’s good in my personal opinion. I think it sends a very strong message that your conduct is something that you’re going to be held accountable for. It was well documented what took place, obviously no charges have been filed to this point, but that still does not dismiss any NFL player from the responsibilities that come from their actions when they’re in the public eye. I think Commissioner Goodell has taken a very strong stance in the past and I think he’s doing that right now. I think it got the endorsement of the Pittsburgh Steelers and everybody else. I think right now it’s up to Ben to deal with the punishment that has been handed out, to adhere to whatever these guidelines are that he must adhere to, and to try to make this a four game suspension as opposed to six. That would be in the best interest of the football team and that’s what he owes to his teammates. That being said, I would think he would do that. They could see something was coming down. They went out and got Byron Leftwich and it’s either going to be him or (Dennis) Dixon probably one of the starters when it comes to opening day and the first four weeks before the bye.”
On whether or not he thinks the Steelers will trade Roethlisberger:
“I do not. I think the message was very loud and clear that they are very disappointed to have to go through this. I think he’s got an opportunity to rekindle his reputation. He’s a young player, he’s made some very poor judgments in the last few years, and if he’s ever going to learn from something, he’ll learn from this. I think they’re gonna give him the opportunity to do that.”
On whether or not Roethlisberger was liked within the organization:
“You know what Boom, I think we like anybody that can help us win football games. I think there’s no question that this guy, on the football field is tremendously respected by his teammates and he’s respected by opponents. He’s a talent. The guy is an unbelievable competitor. He’s got a great feel for the game, but certainly with some of the things that have been brought on in the last couple of years, it kinda puts a damper on it. I think again, as you know, the bottom line is trying to win football games. You have young single guys and you have people that have three kids, the dynamics of every locker room are a little bit different. Usually when 4:00 comes or 4:30 comes, everybody goes their separate ways. The one thing you want to make sure the players do is they don’t do anything to dampen your ability to win football games. What Ben has done is put himself in a situation where he’s gonna miss six games. Hopefully he’ll do the right thing and minimize that to four.”
On why he thinks the Steelers will hang on to Roethlisberger as opposed to trading him:
“I think the circumstances are something where there’s no reason to say they wouldn’t but I would be very surprised. This is a guy that was brought up and again there’s no way they would condone his actions, but at the same time, this is a behavioral thing. There’s been no drugs involved, there’s been no series of events of that nature. They made a very big investment in Ben. Again, I think he’s a guy that has proven to be a big commodity on the field and certainly want to get him to be the leader off the field. I think they still believe in him. I think that’s what is the bottom line. If there were a trade to be made, it would show that they really feel like they have exasperated every opportunity to try to change him. I still believe that they feel like he will learn from this and they can move forward with him as their quarterback.”
Listen to Bill Cowher on WFAN in New York here (starts 2 minutes into podcast)