As the illustrious 18-year career of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger draws to a close, some of his most worthy adversaries — past and present — have bid a (mostly) fond farewell to the future Hall of Famer.
Ryan Mink, staff writer for BaltimoreRavens.com, compiled comments from players and coaches about Roethlisberger, whose final regular-season game will be on their turf this Sunday, January 9, in Baltimore.
Ed Reed, one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game, had this to say about Ben Roethlisberger: “The dude was just a competitor, one of those ultimate competitors. Big Ben always gave them a chance. Congrats on a great career, and good luck after football. See ya in Canton.”
Many believe Roethlisberger to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Per the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a player must have been retired at least five years before he can be considered, meaning Roethlisberger will first be eligible in 2028. Reed was enshrined in 2019.
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Among other Ravens alumni to include a message for Roethlisberger is former linebacker Bart Scott. “The greatest thing I could say about Ben Roethlisberger is that he played like a Raven,” he said. “That’s something rare to say about an opponent, but Ben Roethlisberger would have been a great Raven.”
“He was a guy that was always a willing brawler – twisted noses, broken bones. He’s the Michael Myers of football. It’s almost hard for me to believe that this could be his last game because Michael Myers has always played that game. You thought you killed him, you think you knocked him out of the game; he may lay there, but he usually gets back up. If this is the last time Ben Roethlisberger gets back up, all I can say is job well done and respect.”
Scott isn’t exaggerating either.
Scott: ‘Ben Has a Very Punchable Face’
In 2006, Roethlisberger was on the receiving end of the sack heard around the world — one that was put on him by none other than Bart Scott.
The Steelers were getting blown out, and Ben Roethlisberger got blown up when Scott came free, untouched, off the edge on a blitz. He was laid out for several minutes before walking off the field under his own power. Roethlisberger suffered a chest injury but only sat out one play — a testimony to just how tough he was.
“That’s probably the hardest I’ve ever been hit in my life,” Roethlisberger told the Baltimore Sun. “I just kind of remember my head hitting the ground. I couldn’t really breathe very well.”
To this day, 16 seasons later, Roethlisberger credits Scott for delivering the hardest, most powerful sack of his career. And that’s saying a ton considering Ben Roethlisberger is the most sacked quarterback in the NFL. Per Pro Football Reference, Roethlisberger has been sacked 553 times — nine more than Tom Brady, who has played in nearly 70 more games.
Added Scott: “For me, [I’ll always remember] all that Ben Roethlisberger has taken from me. Twice in my career, he’s prevented me from going to the Super Bowl. People always believe that when I left the Ravens and went to the AFC East, it was the Patriots I hated. No, even as a Jet, he stopped me from going to the Super Bowl.
“I went to three AFC championships in a row, and he stopped me from going to the Super Bowl in two of them – once as a Raven and once as a Jet. So I genuinely do hate him. But that’s the greatest sign of respect. I only hate him because of how he played and what he took from me. Ben, I hate you. I’m glad you’re done.”
According to Mink, one of Scott’s comments that didn’t make the cut was that “Ben has a very punchable face.”
Only Bart Scott…
Wyche on Watt
Speaking of linebackers, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a pretty good one. You may have heard of him — a guy by the name of T.J. Watt.
Many predict that Defensive Player of the Year honors will finally be bestowed upon Watt for his unworldly 2021 campaign. On December 19, Watt surpassed James Harrison for most sacks in a season with 16.0. Watt needs only 1.5 sacks for the most sacks in a season in the January 9 regular-season finale. New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan set the record of 22.5 back in 2001.
Watt has been in the DPOY conversation for the past two seasons, but each time was beaten out by Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
NFL Network analyst Steven Wyche believes that this is Watt’s year. “C’mon, T.J. Watt is a grrrrreat player,” said Wyche on a recent episode of the Upon Further Review podcast.
“A lot of pass rushers accrue statistics because they play on teams where offenses get two-touchdown leads, and the opposing team has to throw it 45 times,” Wyche said. “He does not on that type of team. He is doing duty. And he missed two games. So he is getting it done under the toughest type of circumstances. I would think it would be very hard for him not to get [DPOY].”