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Ben's complicated quest to be a better leader

Discussion in 'Steelers Talk' started by Hawaii 5-0, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Hawaii 5-0

    Hawaii 5-0 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2019
    Ben Roethlisberger's complicated quest to be a better leader

    Sep 10, 2019
    Jeremy Fowler
    ESPN Staff Writer

    After devouring a steamy slop bucket of seafood, red potatoes and corn, Ben Roethlisberger gathered his skill players by his rectangular pool overlooking Lake Oconee.

    It was a late evening in mid-May, and just about every skill-position player was in attendance at Roethlisberger's Georgia lake house, from Pro Bowlers to the practice squad: James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald, James Washington, Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers, Xavier Grimble, Trey Griffey and Tevin Jones. They marveled at the perks, including private-jet transportation, lodging, water sports and throwing sessions, all organized and paid for by Roethlisberger, who issued a group text a month before telling teammates to pack their bags.

    "It was honestly amazing," Griffey says.

    Under a near-full moon, Roethlisberger and teammates formed a circle and shared their life stories, starting with Conner. Washington says the players took an oath not to disclose what they heard, but he says the moment "took the edge off" after a turbulent season in which the Steelers missed the playoffs and lost two veteran game-changing talents, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. Throughout his career, Roethlisberger has been criticized for keeping teammates at a distance -- something that Brown had voiced repeatedly over the previous few months. This trip provided his teammates with perhaps the most outreach of Roethlisberger's entire Pittsburgh career.

    Eventually, Smith-Schuster interjected.

    "Seven, tell us your thing," he said. Roethlisberger warned that his story would take a while. He started to talk, and questions followed -- about everything from his football journey to his relationship with late owner Dan Rooney to why he doesn't allow music in the locker room.

    Roethlisberger told ESPN he "shed a little bit of a tear," which multiple teammates confirm, though he kept with the company line and declined to divulge details of his story.

    "It was very eye-opening," says Roethlisberger, 37, who had not hosted skill players at the lake house since 2015. "They were glued on me, listening. I think it was a little bit of amazement, a bit of craziness, just everything involved."

    As Roethlisberger settles into his late-career arc, he's working to change the perception of his leadership. In interviews with more than 25 people, including current and former teammates and sources around the organization and quarterback, no one questions that Roethlisberger has kept the Steelers a perpetual winner. But in the aftermath of the Steelers' bumpy 2018 season and the disastrous 33-3 season-opening loss to the Patriots, his oft-discussed influence inside the building and in the locker room has never been more scrutinized.

    If the Steelers right the ship and become a playoff team, Roethlisberger's ability to rally a revamped offensive roster might be the single biggest key to the year.

    Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark -- who has never been shy about criticizing Roethlisberger -- believes that some parts of leadership are inherent and rare: caring about the team more than yourself, needing to protect those inside the locker room at all costs.

    "When you get around those people, you just know," says Clark, who was with the team from 2006 to 2013 and is now an ESPN analyst. "For whatever reason, [Roethlisberger's] not like that. The leadership part hasn't come naturally. But I believe that he's trying. He's trying really hard to be a leader."

    A topic discussed very little at the lake house, according to Roethlisberger, was the Steelers' bitter divorce from Brown, their All-Pro wide receiver, and the subsequent public shots Roethlisberger took from Brown and other ex-teammates for months.

    Brown and Roethlisberger were never best friends, by any stretch, but teammates describe a solid and successful partnership during a run in which Brown had six consecutive 100-catch seasons. Brown used to beam when he'd get an offseason text from Roethlisberger hyping what a big season he saw for his favorite target.

    By the end of 2018, Brown felt he had become a scapegoat for the Steelers' struggles, but he also had a well-documented penchant for showing up late to meetings and working off his own set of rules. All of which sounded familiar last week when Brown sabotaged his $30 million in guarantees from the Oakland Raiders by skipping work, threatening the general manager, demanding a release and then signing with the New England Patriots shortly after.

    Roethlisberger often tempered some of Brown's outbursts behind the scenes, one Steelers starter says.

    "Ben's had to deal with AB's antics for a long time," says a separate NFL source with knowledge of the situation. "It got out of hand."

    As one former Steeler recalls, the yearslong tension between the two made players feel they had to pick a side: the calm-but-corporate Roethlisberger or the genuine-yet-chaotic Brown. Internally, Brown had become more vocal about his issues with the quarterback, whose position and tenure gave him the edge in any power struggle.

    Roethlisberger flexed that power on his radio show after a Week 12 loss to Denver, criticizing Brown's route running in the end zone and expressing regret for not throwing to Smith-Schuster instead of Brown on the final series. Roethlisberger later apologized for the comments.

    But what really set everything off was Brown's explosive tweet in February, a month before the receiver was traded to Oakland, in which he said that Roethlisberger's "owner mentality" allows him to call out anyone without repercussions and that those who question his influence might lose their "meal ticket."

    Bell's relationship with Roethlisberger wasn't as complicated. Roethlisberger never bashed Bell in their five years together, and teammates weren't aware of any issues.

    But after Bell signed with the New York Jets, he told ESPN that Brown's words "had a lot of truth to [them]" and, in an interview with Sports Illustrated, called the quarterback a factor in his leaving the Steelers.

    to read rest of article:

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  2. Thigpen82


    Oct 17, 2011
    Interesting read, thanks for posting.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. thorn058

    thorn058 Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    It was quite interesting to read. One little tidbit I have trouble with but can also totally understand is his attitude about guys coming and going and why he wasn't putting himself out there. I had jobs where once in a blue moon we had a great crew and really had fun working together and hanging out outside of work but inevitably change happens. So I can get where he is coming from. He was very close with Max and Heath and some of those guys, I get the pain and why he would try to stay at arms length but come on if you embrace some of these young guys there would not be a one of them not willing to run through a brick wall for you. My 1.5 cents on the subject.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  4. Wardismvp

    Wardismvp Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2011
    My friends, he is who we thought he was.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  5. steel machine

    steel machine Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2017
    Well that got my attention.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. FootballAnalyst98

    FootballAnalyst98 Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2018
    Nothing new to be honest. Too many former Steelers players have called ben out for their to just be seen weird coincidence. We know who he is.
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
    • Against The Rules Against The Rules x 1
  7. thesteeldeal

    thesteeldeal Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2011

    Been saying the same things for years. Ben claims he needs to get better? Never heard of practicing something making you worse. Says he can’t control other parts of the team. Seems to me repetition and continuity would be a good place to start. Didn’t he claim in OTAs that he was gonna be more involved because of all the new faces. So he took every third practice off and judging by Sunday nights performance the new faces need more work. So in that case let’s take Bensday off too.....smh
  8. groutbrook


    Oct 23, 2016
    I gotta quit reading these articles...
    • Hilarious Hilarious x 1
  9. turtle


    Jan 14, 2015
    The Red Hawks parking only thing was weird. To actually come into the locker room and ask everyone who parked there is something that would irk me as another player. But that's just me. I would get the "who the eff are you" attitude real quick. Franchise QB yes, but still...

    All the mentions of those other top QBs never taking practice/days off too wasn't shocking. You see the results on the field from those guys.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. thesteeldeal

    thesteeldeal Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    You’re gonna start walking around like JP 24 hours a day
  11. Da Stellars

    Da Stellars Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Ben skipping practice?
  12. Steelers304

    Steelers304 Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2015
    Ben just missed practice after having a god awful game , i don't care if he always does it he needs to be out there every day trying to get better with the new group. Convince me otherwise. also through the OC under the bus this week . I used to be a Ben fan. Not anymore
    • Agree Agree x 3
  13. 4124life

    4124life Well-Known Member

    Oct 15, 2018
    It’s a coaches job to lead. Not one player.
  14. bigbenhotness

    bigbenhotness Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2014
    Call me crazy but I think this is Ben and tomlins last year.

    Jk tomlin gonna be here another 20 lol
    • Hilarious Hilarious x 1

    NY STEELERFAN Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2012
    At this point does it really matter? I mean Ben is what he is, he is 37 and in the last year or two of his career. Nothing is gonna change, he will still have Wednesday off even in the start of the season. Ben is who he is and some here love him to death and he can do no wrong and some here like me could care less and call it the way I see it. Is Ben a good QB hell yeah is there issues heck yeah as you can tell by how many articles are written about his leadership. All I care about is wins and especially the one big one in February. After week one it don't look like we will be playing in January never mind February..........

    There are so many other problems with this team to keep talking about Ben's leadership. The coaching is a big one, the game planning and drafting could be added to this list. Oh well gonna be a pretty long season and gonna be a lot of talk about this week in and week out.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Busman


    Oct 18, 2011

    Sounds like he is asking guys to do stuff he is unwilling to do.. First mistake in management . Never ask personnel to do something you dont do. Actions speak louder then words and guys certainly see all of this and mimic what he does. I find it terrible that you speak about wanting to be the best but don't attend practices. You have to lead by example. Ben does not do this always.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  17. thesteeldeal

    thesteeldeal Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    It’s the coaches job to establish the culture. Discipline, preparation and accountability. It’s the QBs job to reinforce these standards. If you want to be the leader of the team and act like your tenure gives you the right to try and act like one, then you need to accept all the other responsibilities that go with it and not just between the lines. If not you will only come of as selfish and entitled.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. thesteeldeal

    thesteeldeal Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    If it was possible to agree with this anymore I would. It’s 1,000% accurate. Anyone that has been in charge of groups large or small would understand. I’m gonna give a brief synopsis of why I feel so strongly about this. I’ll try not to shed a tear and even if I do I won’t try and make sure you guys know it, ala Ben ....lol. I’ve been in construction for 30+ years the last 20 as a construction laborer(Local 79 NYC) and for many of those jobs as a foreman. I’ve been in charge/responsible for groups as small as 2 and as large as 30 or more. Never have I asked a man or woman(very rarely that I have worked with) to do something I couldn’t or wouldn’t do. I’ve been approached and have heard on many,many occasions people questioning who I was or “ who is that because I work as hard or harder than any of those I’m in charge of. I’ve also never once flaunted my tenure or standing in the company as a right of passage. ( Ok patting myself on the back over)
    I may have a big mouth here :clapping:but publicly I’m very soft spoken and choose to let my actions speak for me. Anyway ....leading by example is and always will be the best way to lead and to earn respect. You will have people trying to run through a wall for you just to try and keep up. ( Tear drop.....ooops sorry)
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. KnoxVegasSteel

    KnoxVegasSteel Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2011
    Cue the Ben haters club to start sh!tting all over him. Good thing all you guys are perfect and the best ever at whatever it is that you do for a living. Mickey D's would go to hell in a handbasket if you ever got an offer from BK and decide to hold out.

    But what I want to know is if the guys took an oath to not disclose what they heard at that meeting, then why is Jeremy Fowler writing an article about what was said there? :hmm:

    I'm sure the BR haters will find a way to blame that on Ben too. Surely he leaked it to the talking heads as a publicity stunt....;)
  20. Steel_Elvis

    Steel_Elvis Staff Member Mod Team

    Nov 4, 2011
    Bottom line: Ben has his warts, but he is still capable of leading the right team to the SB. There are things that I really dislike about him, but we are more likely to contend with him than without him over the next couple of seasons.

    I am FAR more concerned with 1) our dadgum clueless defensive coordinator, 2) our non-instinctive safeties and 3) our lack of tight ends behind Vance than I am about Ben. Ben is WAY down on my list of concerns.
  21. thesteeldeal

    thesteeldeal Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    He isn’t writing a article based on what was said specifically . The article is that it happened. No one is talking about what was actually said during the trip.
  22. Busman


    Oct 18, 2011

    Amen.. Well said :)
  23. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Bottom line is Ben needs to practice. He sucks when he doesnt. Ben has let mediocre become his new norm. He expects the new parts to come to him and rise to his comfort level instead of bringing them to his level. I don't think that fire is there. Mason keep working, at some point you will get your shot. Having a hunger to become will go a long way. Ben has made his way but the fire to raise another winner of these kids as Colbert says is not priority one in bens final years. More going through the motions because he doesn't recognize the faces anymore. A reason he clings to his o-line so much. Ben likes his comfort zone. He has his own kids to raise. He's a multi-millionaire and tired of raising another family of kids. That's what these young guys are to him.:cool:
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  24. bigbenhotness

    bigbenhotness Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2014
    I am ready for Mason and new coaches. I think we would suck now but i truly believe we would be better in the long run.
    • Like Like x 1
  25. bigbenhotness

    bigbenhotness Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2014
    Thank you Ben for everything you have done but I think your time is coming...

    2 rings
    3 SB appearances
    6 pro bowls
    2 accusations
    • Hilarious Hilarious x 2

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