Recently retired Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recently took a few shots at the new generation of NFL players.
Big Ben argued that today’s players treat themselves more like themselves, instead of focusing on what is best for the team.
Here is Roethlisberger’s full comment on this from an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“The team was very important. It was all about the team. Now it’s all about me, this, that, and the other.
“Maybe I’m standing on a soap dish a little bit, but this is my biggest conclusion from the moment I started to the end. This has turned from a team approach into an attitude towards oneself. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, Social Media. They are treated so well in college. Now, these new things are NIL, which is incredible. They are treated in such a special way. They are played with at a young age, because college coaches also need them to win. I know Coach [Terry] Heppner has never spoiled me. Like [Bill] Cowher.”
Roethlisberger’s longtime teammate Cameron Hayward, who turns 12 at the Steelers, said the comments “upset him a little bit.”
“It looks like we’re being looked at as selfish players, and I don’t think that’s the point,” he said on the latest installment of the “Not Just Football with Cam Hayward” podcast. “We have a lot of young players who have come from different backgrounds, experienced different things compared to what others or I may have experienced. It doesn ‘t make them selfish or more like me … There are a lot more guys who primarily relate to the team and not to me. I was offended by that.”
The 33-year-old defender believes his job is to keep his younger teammates on the right track.
“I’m responsible for these guys,” Hayward added. “Obviously, we haven’t had a Super Bowl in a long time, and maybe that’s when Ben said, ‘Dude, if these guys would grow up.’ But the older guys have to step in and hold the guys accountable … The vet should take you under his wing, pull you over and say, “Hey, this is what it’s like to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.” And that’s what I’m trying to do.
“Maybe Ben didn’t think so, but, man, I’m going to protect my guys. Now you just can’t say that this is my type of relationship. Everyone wants to become Super Bowl winners, money, one day I will become the most valuable player. But when it all comes together, we care about one thing, this logo is right here. … I’ve always tried to extend that to my younger teammates. I think Ben was a little out of his mind over there.”
Hayward’s younger brother, Connor, was selected by the Steelers in this year’s draft.