One of the NFL’s great players hasn’t committed to playing in 2017, and no one particularly cares.
As April approaches, Ben Roethlisberger’s refusal to definitively say he’s playing football again remains odd, but the collective dismissal of his waffling is downright funny.
Way back on Jan. 24, Roethlisberger told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh that he needed to “take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin spoke later that same day and didn’t sound particularly troubled.
“He said it, so you do take it seriously,” Tomlin said, wholesale new jersey, sounding like a parent who wants to validate his child’s feelings without believing a word of it.
Just a day later, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted a veteran teammate who said he’s “heard that before” from Ben. The piece also said that no one in the organization was taking Roethlisberger’s words seriously. In the weeks to follow, Steelers president Art Rooney II and general manager Kevin Colbert both said they expect Roethlisberger to play, despite his comments.
This refusal to take a leader’s public statements at face value echoes in our daily news, and it makes me wonder what Roethlisberger is thinking. At what point does he go mad or get slightly depressed that no one believes him?
He has kept the story alive into free agency, despite the Steelers failing to address the quarterback position with any urgency in March. Speaking at a conference at Liberty University over the weekend, Roethlisberger allowed that he’s “leaning towards” playing again without fully committing.
The story is reminiscent of the annual offseason indecision from Brett Favre, the original quarterback who cried wolf. But at least Favre had to flip-flop a few times before people stopped taking him seriously. People just don’t believe Roethlisberger right off the bat.
Perhaps it’s Roethlisberger’s penchant for in-season drama, wholesale sport jerseys, his self-documented history of recovery from injuries. Perhaps it’s more insidious, a background of distrust built from multiple sexual-assault allegations, a lack of trust in Roethlisberger that lingers in his hometown to this day.
At some point before April 18, when Steelers players report to the team facility for “Phase One” of organized team activities, the greatest Steelers player of this century should announce he’s playing football again. The story likely will be treated with indifference, wholesale sports jerseys, raised eyebrows and a few wisecracks, because no one took Ben Roethlisberger seriously in the first place.