Ben Roethlisberger is not having the best 2018 that has followed him into 2019.
On the outside looking in, it would seem as if the problems with the Steelers were RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown who are now members of the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders.
Issues with Big Ben have been talked about sparingly over the years, but they really came to the forefront when former player Josh Harris accused Ben of intentionally fumbling vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014 after disagreeing with Todd Haley’s play call.
During the Monday morning episode of ‘Get Up!’ on ESPN, former Steelers safety Ryan Clark was posed with the question if he thinks the accusation made by Harris last week holds weight. Clark had a bunch to say about this topic and other things he actually went through.
“Uhhhhhhhhhhh, I think the problem is you don’t really know,” Clark first responded. “The Ben I know, the competitor I think he is, I wouldn’t think he’d do something like that intentionally. He hasn’t done anything for me to think that he couldn’t be that petty, though, and so I honestly, what Josh is saying is not far off from who Ben is. He was extremely close with Brett Kiesel during my time there. And I’ll be honest, I have an affection for Ben that’s different, an admiration for him that’s different, because while he was suspended, he went to watch my son Jordan play like a little league football game. So, I feel differently about Ben and the type of person he is than I think other people do.”
“He’s not a natural leader,” Clark said of Roethlisberger. “Caring about people above himself is not something that comes easy to him. And so it’s something he’s had to work on. We had a players only meeting my first year about Ben. Like the legit reason that the meeting was called was to talk about Ben and the way that he related to the team. And so he had to work on those things. But to say that a guy fumbled the ball intentionally, it’s just hard for me to believe that.”
Clark then went on to mention how a team meeting had to be called early on in Roethlisberger’s career:
“It was just that people felt like, guys who were there before me, because obviously it was the first year I was there, felt like the guy he was coming into the league and the way that he behaved in his first two years, changed after they won a Super Bowl, changed after they won a championship,” Clark said. “He distanced himself from the team. He wasn’t a guy who ingratiated himself into the culture of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the people in that locker room. And I think that was something for him that he had to understand. And you know, you talk about Josh Harris speaking about him being close to some of the o-linemen, that was the same thing when I was there. I think the problem is, we feel like all of your best players have to be leaders, but that’s just not how it works.’
When asked what resulted from that team meeting:
“Went to work,” Clark said. “He was in the meeting, he was directly addressed, his name was called. It was the reason we talked and I think it was one of those things where older players, leaders of the team, captains of the team, felt like, because that year after winning the Super Bowl we were 8-8, we started the year with a losing record. And so it was a lot of things going on and they felt like that was one of the huge deals happening on the team.”
It seems as if the problem with the Steelers is still in the locker room.