While most of the the blame for this year’s Steelers drama has fallen at the feet of wantaway wide receiver Antonio Brown, a former Steelers great says that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s role in this should not be undersold.
Via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, former Steelers wideout Hines Ward said during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio that Roethlisberger needs to be a better leader, specifically by not criticizing teammates so openly on his weekly radio show.
“When you wear that ‘C’ on your jersey, that stands for a lot,” Ward said. “It’s not just what you do on the football field. You have to hold every man accountable. Ben, you’ve been there the longest. You should know better. . . .
“If we say we are a band of brothers, come talk to me like a brother. You don’t have to put me on blast in front of the media. That’s not the way you go about handling and communicating brotherhood.”
During his radio appearances, Roethlisberger took aim at Brown’s route-running after the loss to Denver, as well as other players along the course of the season. Ward pointed out that Tom Brady does weekly radio too, without the same degree of rancor.
“You never hear him throwing guys under the bus,” Ward said. “That’s what leaders are. At the quarterback position, you are automatically looked at as leaders because of the position. It’s what you do on a day-to-day basis. Are you the first guy coming in? Are you the last guy leaving the building?
“It seems like he picks and chooses his moments. As a wide receiver, I’ve been there. I’ve always respected Ben Roethlisberger, but we always didn’t see eye to eye.”
Ward also said Brown needed to “grow up,” after reports of skipping team meetings and not returning calls from coach Mike Tomlin or owner Art Rooney II, but there are plenty of people ripping Brown already.