Ben Roethlisberger Can Either Get with the Program, or End Up on the Trade Block

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 21: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Steelers won 24-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Ben Roethlisberger needs to realize he's not above becoming expendable for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It's time for Big Ben to get on board with what Todd Haley's doing in the Steel City or find himself on the trade block. The Steelers have always been a team-first organization—just ask Santonio Holmes—and aren't afraid to discard players who don't follow the company line.

Roethlisberger was openly critical of Haley's play-calling after the Steelers lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15—never mind that it was Roethlisberger's interception in overtime that lost the game, not Haley's plays. 

Head coach Mike Tomlin attempted to diffuse any perceived drama afterwards, per ESPN News Services, saying Roethlisberger is "on board with what we're doing."

But that doesn't jive with what we've seen/heard from Big Ben since the franchise decided to let go of Bruce Arians back in January. He was never on board with that decision, and when Haley was hired in February, Roethlisberger wasn't on board with learning a new offense.

Per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger didn't want to start over, saying:

I would hate to just throw everything out and start over because I feel it would set us back two or three years because these guys are just starting to get it. I hope we don't have to start over and if we do, you know what, here we go. Let's do it. We'll do it. We're not going to complain about it. But I would hate to have to set certain guys back who are doing so well right now.

Roethlisberger didn't take long to go back on his, "We're not going to complain about it" stance.

In October, he spoke with Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

"Haley‘s offense is not a big-play offense,” he said. “It‘s kind of a dink-and-dunk offense."

Starkey: “Is there room for more quick strikes?”

Ben: “We did that last week (82-yard pass to Mike Wallace).”

Starkey: “Right, but you never went back to it.”

Ben: “There‘s a guy calling the plays. That‘s on him.”

 

Then, after Week 15's loss, Roethlisberger was at it again, as we've already discussed.

The fact of the matter is that Big Ben hasn't been supportive since the day Haley arrived, hasn't put his heart and soul into following the plan that his offensive coordinator has laid out and has continually and publicly made his case against the man Tomlin chose to run his offense.

That's not a good way to stay on good terms with your bosses. 

There's no doubt that Roethlisberger is one of the NFL's great quarterbacks—perhaps he's even amongst the few truly elite.

That said, the Steelers haven't batted an eyelash about trading or cutting players in the past that haven't represented the franchise well, and it's not like Roethlisberger has a ton of wiggle room to play with, here.

He almost killed himself in a motorcycle accident back in 2006 when he wrecked his bike and wasn't wearing a helmet—a stupid thing to do, if you haven't heard.

And even more damning is the fact that Roethlisberger has been accused of sexual assault not once, but twice—in 2009 and in 2010—and the second one resulted in an six-game suspension that was later bumped down to four. 

In response to the entire situation, the Steelers put him on the trade block.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, back in 2010:

Here are teams that Steelers have called about Roethlisberger: Rams, 49ers, Raiders, BillsJaguars, Seahawks and Browns.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2010

 

Although Roethlisberger was never found guilty, the fact remains that he's repeatedly put himself in situations that have had a negative impact on the Steelers, and his latest antics aren't likely helping his cause within the organization. 

The Steelers have put Roethlisberger on the trade block before, and if he doesn't shape up and get with the program, I'm positive they'll have no qualms about doing it again. 

Two Super Bowls? 

So what. 

The Steelers don't mess around, and Roethlisberger needs to get back in line and march to the beat of Tomlin's drum, or he's a goner. 

 

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