Ben Roethlisberger: I Didn't Want Steelers' Kenny Pickett to Succeed in NFL Early OnMay 22, 2023
Kenny Pickett was drafted to be the successor to Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, but that doesn't mean the Steelers legend was a fan at first.
With Pickett appearing on the latest episode of the Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger podcast, Roethlisberger admitted (starting at the 1:30:00 mark) that he wasn't rooting for Pickett to have success right away as a rookie.
"Early on, I didn't want him to succeed 'cause I didn't want, he followed me up. I didn't want it to happen. I think that's probably the selfishness in me, and I feel bad for it. But as it went on, as the season went on, he got like his third game playing, I was rooting for him. I was excited for ya. I wanted you to succeed. I wanted you to win games. I wanted you to get to the playoffs. And so I feel bad that I felt that early on. But I'm glad that I transitioned into the love and rooting for ya."
Despite the initial thoughts, the two-time Super Bowl champion mentioned that he owned a Pickett jersey and wears it on game days.
"I was pleasantly surprised, I'm glad that I was wrong in the sense of where I had you," Roethlisberger said. "I thought you'd be a quarterback that was good, that was going to come in...I think you are the future of this team. I really do. And I think they got, you know, the fans should be lucky, they are lucky they got you."
He added that "it's been fun watching" Pickett and that he is a "fan."
Pickett was the 20th overall pick in 2022 and started 12 games for the Steelers in his rookie season. He went 7-5 as a starter and threw for 2,404 yards, seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.
He will have a long way to go if he wants to catch the future Hall of Famer in the franchise record book. Roethlisberger is the team's all-time leading passed with 64,088 passing yards.