With Leaders Like Ben Roethlisberger, Who Needs Enemies? | Admits He Wanted Kenny Pickett To Struggle As A Rookie

Headline: “Ben Who?” | Ben Roethlisberger Admitted Hoped For Kenny Pickett to Struggle So He Could Remain Relevant to Steelers’ Nation Forever

Sometimes it is hard for the great ones to let go and Ben Roethlisberger recently admitted to it. The former Steelers quarterback walked away from the game at the end of the 2021 season after 18 seasons with the organization. The Steelers drafted his replacement a few months later in the 2022 NFL draft. They took Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick in the first round, and he ended up starting 12 games in his rookie season.

(Left) Kenny Pickett attempting to throw a pass during a Steelers game; (right) Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines. (Photos: Getty Images)

Roethlisberger and Pickett recently sat down for an interview on his “Footbahlin With Ben Roethlisberger” podcast. The former Steelers quarterback gave a jaw-dropping revelation about his reaction to the team drafting Pickett.

Legends Live Forever

Roethlisberger basically told the sophomore quarterback he was hoping he would fail in his first year with the team.

“I wouldn’t say that I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail, but when someone comes to replace you, I still felt like I had it. I hope he doesn’t come and ball out, because then it’s like, ‘Ben who?'” said Roethlisberger. “As you started playing, I found myself rooting more and more for you.”

Pickett went 7-5 in the games he started. He threw for 2,404 yards, completing 63 percent of his throws, with seven passing touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Some Things Never Changed

It was surprising to hear Roethlisberger say that about Pickett, but it came as no shock he felt this way. Older veteran players often show resentment to younger players that are drafted to take their place. It happened in Green Bay twice in the past 25 years. Brett Favre didn’t openly embrace Aaron Rodgers when the Packers drafted him in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. Rodgers then turned the cold shoulder to Jordan Love when the Packers took him with their first-round pick in the 2020 draft.

The surprise about Roethlisberger comments came because he wasn’t even on the team and was retired. This is nothing new for Roethlisberger. In 2018, he was vocal about not mentoring Mason Rudolph after the Steelers took him in the third round of that draft.

“I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team now,” said Roethlisberger to 93.7 radio in Pittsburgh. “Nothing against Mason; I think he’s a great football player. I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid. I just don’t know how backing up or being a third (string) — well, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart — helps us win now.”

He was also added that he was not planning on mentoring Rudolph.

“I don’t think I’ll need to since he said he doesn’t need me. If he asks me a question, I might just have to point to the playbook,” said Roethlisberger to 93.7 FM radio.

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