Ben Roethlisberger’s recent comments about player attitudes did not sit well with one of his former teammates.
The retired QB argued about today’s players having a more “me-type” attitude instead of focusing on what’s best for the team.
“The team was so important. It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other.
“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win, too. I know coach [Terry] Hoeppner never coddled me. Neither did [Bill] Cowher.”
Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward was critical of Roethlisberger for his words. Heyward, who’s entering his 12th year with the Steelers, said these comments made him “a little bit upset.”
Heyward spent a segment of his latest “Not Just Football” podcast responding.
“It looks as though we are looked at as selfish players, and I don’t think that’s the point,” he said during the most recent episode of the Not Just Football with Cam Heyward podcast. “We have a lot of young players that come from different backgrounds, have experienced different things from what others or I may have experienced. That doesn’t make them selfish or more of a me-type attitude… There are a lot more team-first guys than me-type attitude. I took offense to that.”
The 33-year-old defensive lineman believes it’s his job to keep his younger teammates on the right track.
“I’m accountable for those guys,” Heyward added. “Obviously we haven’t had a Super Bowl in a long time, and maybe that’s where Ben is like, ‘Man, if those guys would have grown up.’ But it’s up to the older guys to step up and hold guys accountable. … It’s up to a vet to put you under your wing and pull you across and say, ‘Hey, this is what it’s like to be Pittsburgh Steeler.’ And that’s what I’m trying to do.
“Maybe Ben didn’t see it that way, but man, I’m going to protect my guys. You just can’t say it’s a ‘me-type of attitude’ now. Everyone’s out to be a Super Bowl winner, make money, one day be an MVP. But when it all comes together, we care about one thing, this logo right here. … I’ve always tried to extend that to my younger teammates. I think Ben was a little out on that one.”
Heyward earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2021 — recording 10 sacks, 89 tackles, and 15 tackles for loss. He also made five straight Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro three times since 2017. He was also second-team All-Pro in 2020.