Ben Roethlisberger Says Idea He Doesn't Care About Football 'Absolutely Nuts'

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2017

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 29, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Detroit Lions 20-15. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit back at those who have questioned his effort level on the field in 2017.

"In a way it's like, 'Wait a second, you're going to take a shot at me and you don't know me?'" Roethlisberger said Tuesday on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh (h/t ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler). "I'm going to go out here and bust my butt every day and be limping with bruises and put my body and my family through this and not care? You're absolutely nuts."

If Roethlisberger's numbers were better, then his pondering retirement after this year wouldn't be any issue whatsoever. However, the 35-year-old is averaging 259.7 yards per game, which are his lowest since 2012. His 87.8 passer rating is also his worst since 2008.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith was a vocal critic of Roethlisberger, saying on First Take in October the five-time Pro Bowler looked like "someone who doesn't want to play":

Smith's comments came three days after Roethlisberger went 33-of-55 for 312 yards and five interceptions in a 30-9 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5.

Since then, the Steelers have won five games in a row, while Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,328 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. It's safe to say focus hasn't been a problem for him over the past month, and he'll be feeling especially good after throwing for 299 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-17 win against the Tennessee Titans last Thursday.