Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger Admits He 'Lacked in Leadership' Last Season

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters Tuesday he failed as a leader during the 2018 season.

"I lacked in leadership," Roethlisberger said. "Because that's my job as the leader of this team, to get us to the playoffs. I'm gonna need to focus and refocus my energy and time on, how can I be a better leader to get us back to the playoffs?"

Roethlisberger's leadership style has taken a hit this offseason due to his falling out with Antonio Brown. The former Steelers wideout has regularly criticized Roethlisberger both before and after his trade to the Oakland Raiders. After Roethlisberger apologized for his criticism of Brown during an interview with KDKA, Brown tweeted "Two face."

"I'll start with saying you're right, AB made me who I am," Roethlisberger said in the interview. "He was the greatest wide receiver I ever played with. The things that he did in this league and that we did together are among the best of all time.

"And you're right, there was some great things and then all of a sudden it just kind of, it disappeared, and I’m not sure really where it went. We always worked through it, you know? We always came out the other side smiling and hugged it out and enjoyed it and moved on, and this time, I really don't know."

Brown called out the Steelers for giving Roethlisberger preferential treatment, reiterating he had an "owner mentality" on HBO's The Shop.

"All year dude called me out," Brown said (via The Score). "We'd lose a game and he'd be like, 'AB should have ran a better route.' That's the type of guy he is. He feels like he's the owner. Bro, you threw that s--t to the D-line, how the f--k am I running a bad route? You need to give me a better ball."

Roethlisberger apologized for blaming Brown for the interception he threw late in a loss last season to the Denver Broncos. While the ball was intended for Brown, Roethelisberger's pass went directly into the hands of Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris.

Roethlisberger said he attempted to mend fences with Brown while he was still a Steeler but never heard back:

"I reached out to him many times, sent him texts, sent him calls—his is all before the season was over. Never heard back. So I could never really find out what was going on. For me, that's why it was so confusing. I didn't know where it came from. The week before was the Saints game, right? Unbelievable game. I never really saw any of it coming. I would have loved to have had the chance to talk to him. That's why I said yesterday, whatever I did to offend him, I apologize for it. I tried to do that in person, talk to him. He wouldn't allow me to."

The Steelers and Raiders do not play this season, so odds are Roethlisberger will have to keep waiting for answers. 

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