Ben Roethlisberger is sick of “quote-unquote professional talking heads” (i.e., reporters) who repeat or print verbatim words that come out of his mouth. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback made that clear during a news conference on Wednesday after these “professional talking heads” decided to ask him a follow-up question about a curious sentence he uttered following the team’s 30-9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
“Maybe I don’t have it anymore,” the 35-year-old said Sunday. “I’m not playing well enough.”
Flash forward three days later, and now Roethlisberger appears confused as to why anyone would ever think that.
“Two Super Bowls, 100-some years, 300-some, I don’t even know my own stats,” Roethlisberger told one reporter (via ESPN). “I’ve been playing this game longer than you’ve probably been covering it.”
Roethlisberger scoffed at the suggestion (that he suggested, by the way) that he doesn’t “have it” anymore.
“[Reporters] can question me. I don’t question myself,” Roethlisberger said, noting the comment came out of frustration. “No offense to any of you guys, but it doesn’t matter to me how you guys question me.”
He added, pointing out that despite the loss the Steelers remain atop the AFC North standings: “I think you guys are much more panicked than we are. As you can see, I’m not real shaken by last week or nervous or worried. We’re ready to go.”
Well, okay then.
It looks like Steelers fans have reason to feel optimistic going into Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, knowing that Roethlisberger has overcome the issues that caused his confidence to temporarily weaken. Among those issues were five interceptions, two of which the Jaguars converted into touchdowns. Another of those issues: Roethlisberger’s failure to throw a touchdown pass, which made him just the second NFL player since 2014 to do that while also throwing five interceptions, The Washington Post’s Des Bieler wrote, adding, Roethlisberger also became the first Steelers quarterback to have that many passes picked off since Mark Malone in 1987.
Others have argued the team struggled for more reasons than just Roethlisberger. Those people point to the entire offense, which despite being chock full of talent, has proven underwhelming. While Roethlisberger will remain in the game, the quarterback hinted that changes could be coming to the team’s wide receiver corps during an appearance on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 the Fan on Wednesday.
While talking about Eli Rogers, who was deactivated the past two games in favor of moving JuJu Smith-Schuster and Justin Hunter into his roles as a punt returner and slot receiver, Roethlisberger predicted Rogers would play.
“I think he’ll be on the field this Sunday. I think you know, it is obviously the coach’s call and things like that, but I think he just wanted to give JuJu some time and see what he can do,” Roethlisberger said (via Behind the Steel Curtain). “I think we’ll see more of Eli this week. … I think we’ll see him on the field with JuJu. Maybe put JuJu outside and give Martavis [Bryant] a break.”