Pittsburgh WR Drama: The Steelers' Big Misunderstanding

RealFootball365.comSenior Writer IJanuary 29, 2008

Most NFL fans have heard what Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recently said regarding the Steelers' receivers, but let's go over it one more time.

"I'm always going to ask for a tall receiver," Roethlisberger said. "That's just me. Our receivers are unbelievable, but our tallest guy might be Hines? Or Santonio? Hines is going to say he's 6 foot, but he's 5-11, now.

"It's nice to have a bailout guy, you know, when you're in trouble and you just kind of throw it up," Roethlisberger continued. "In the red zone its nice to have a guy like that. Obviously, we have a guy like Nate who can jump out of this world. He can jump so high. It's nice to have that.

"But to have a big guy who can create mismatches—the same thing happened when Plax [Plaxico Burress] was here. So much presence went to Plax's side just because he's a big, good receiver, that Hines was always open or Antwaan [Randle El]. I just think it would open stuff up for us a lot more," he said.

Unfortunately, Ward didn't appear thrilled with those comments. Ward, who is clearly one of the top all-around wideouts in the league, fired back.

"I don't buy into the hype you have to be tall. You throw the ball up and give somebody a chance to make a play, I'll make as many catches as anyone," commented Ward.

Here's the thing: Nearly everything both guys said is true. First, let's start with Ward. The Steelers did win a Super Bowl without a tall receiver; thus, it certainly can be done. Further, Ward will make as many catches as anyone when given a chance.

Meanwhile, Roethlisberger said, "our receivers are unbelievable," which is something that seems lost at this point in the melee. Beyond that, Roethlisberger will likely soon enter renegotiations with his contract. Thus, he's trying to make his wants known to the franchise for its benefit. And having a tall receiver isn't any more of a bad thing than having a short target who makes all the right catches and blocks better than some linemen (Ward).

In other words, the team could use a large wideout. Still, Roethlisberger shouldn't have said that in the press. Rather, he should have simply spoken privately to Pittsburgh's brass.

Nevertheless, expect these two to make amends quickly and get back to business. Roethlisberger and Ward have gotten along great for four seasons, and one slight rift isn't going to throw a wrench in their relationship.