Colin Cowherd Harps on Ben Roethlisberger for ‘Wasted Talent’


Like it or not, Colin Cowherd is famous for his (often) nonsensical rants on Fox Sports Radio’s The Herd.

This particular tangent would give anyone pause — Ben Roethlisberger fan or not, Pittsburgh Steelers fan or not.

“The sports gods gave [Ben Roethlisberger] everything,” started Cowherd. “Six-six, 250, mobile, huge arm.

He is 39, and it’s over. He peaked at 32, and he was kind of shot at 36-and-a-half. He got the bigger body than [Tom] Brady, the bigger body than Aaron Rogers, but Aaron’s 38 and is the best player in the league. Tom is 44, and many think he’ll win another Super Bowl. And they both have years left. Why? Because Ben got it all. Oh, he’ll make the Hall of Fame. All of them will, but what wasted talent.

[Roethlisberger] didn’t play as smart. He took too many hits. Why would he worry about that? He was the biggest guy in high school, the biggest guy in college, and the biggest guy in the NFL. Why protect yourself? He wasn’t as committed to in the offseason. So he wasn’t in high school or college and just still dominated.

He didn’t adapt. It was always just the deep ball. He never really refined his skills. What you saw early is what his talent gave him.”

What Cowherd fails to mention is Roethlisberger came into a league — and conference — where Tom Brady was unstoppable (and 21 years later, still is).

What Cowherd fails to mention is Rodgers sat behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre for three seasons and wasn’t a starter until age 25 (per Pro Football Reference).

Cowherd closed with: “[Roethlisberger] deserves the Hall of Fame, but my first thought of him will be, I’ve never seen anybody get more gifts, and he left a lot of them squandered.”

Steelers Know Wide Receivers

Colin Cowherd was right about one thing: The Pittsburgh Steelers know how to draft wide receivers. And they’ll need to do it again in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft.

While general manager Kevin Colbert has some misses in his 22 years overseeing the Steelers’ draft, he’s selected some exceptional talent, too. Santonio Holmes (2006), Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown (2010), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017) and Diontae Johnson (2019) are all gems of the Colbert era.

The jury is still out on the last wide receiver Colbert and the Steelers selected. After a stellar rookie campaign, Chase Claypool had a dud of a sophomore season. His 886 yards from scrimmage are on par with the 2021 season (per Pro Football Reference), but he’s only found paydirt once. In 2020, Claypool had 11 touchdowns to his name and was a dynamic receiver. He recently displayed maturity issues that hurt his team and caused unnecessary distractions.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is set to hit free agency in March and will likely want a fresh start with his guy Ben Roethlisberger hanging up the cleats.

Diontae Johnson appears primed to take a firm hold of the No. 1 wide receiver role — something the Steelers haven’t really had since Antonio Brown left Pittsburgh in a tizzy before the 2019 regular season.

2 Starters on Reserve/COVID-19 List

Things were looking up on the Steelers Reserve/COVID-19 list front when, on January 5, the team activated six players: Offensive tackle Zach Banner, linebackers Devin Bush and Joe Schobert, defensive back Arthur Maulet, running back Anthony McFarland and defensive end Chris Wormley. Half of them are starters who will need to play important roles for the Steelers to get that final “W” for Roethlisberger.

Then Pittsburgh’s defensive backfield took a hit when cornerback Joe Haden went on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, soon followed by Johnson and rookie center Kendrick Green. The offensive line performed well without Green versus the Browns on January 3, so if he can’t go, all is not lost. Without Johnson, however, expect Roethlisberger to be relying more on Claypool and Ray-Ray McCloud.

With the NFL’s new COVID-19 protocols, Haden, Green and Johnson could return for the regular season finale. But given that the Steelers have to travel to Baltimore on January 8, just two days from now, it’s doubtful that they’ll be in the lineup.

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Raymond Jastrzab
Raymond Jastrzab
5 months ago

And this comment is dead on.

Ben never realized his potential. He never realized his opportunities or luck in being drafted onto the Pittsburgh Steelers team. Shortly after winning a Super Bowl, he carelessly wrecked a motorcycle that cost him a year where he could have made a run at a repeat championship.

He was childish, immature, and shortsighted… I don’t blame him now, in hindsight, for having regrets.
He is older, wiser, and just like everybody else who has aged in life… retrospective. But lets not insult the only guy in sports that I have heard calling the guy out for what he is – Colin nailed it.
Let me be even more blunt… Ben threw away golden opportunities, he wasted his shots, he failed to see what he had when it was right there in front of him – his for the taking.
I am not sure if he ever had anybody around him to help give him focus, or to give him pause to consider the relatively short window that a quarterback typically has to make a championship run. it appears that nobody was around to tell him that he had been blessed with good fortune and the owners, administration, coaches and tools around him – that few other NFL quarterbacks get to work with.
I personally used to see and hear friends tell me about Ben being out and about, and that he was more like a guy you would invite to a high school kegger in the woods than the type of athlete that you’d consider too cautious or worried about his conditioning and personal care.
Yeah, now that he is at the end of the road, he is looking back with tears in his eyes… wondering what else he could have done, what he could have been, what his legacy will be. And sure, he’ll get credit for his many records, his two Super Bowl wins (even if he really struggled in the first one), and he’ll be a Pittsburgh hero and legend forever.
But he could be one of the greatest ever. He most likely could have won at least two more titles… maybe three (if he would have defeated Rodgers). But those of us who saw how he never pushed himself to the next level, or just left too much on the table when he was in his prime. We are looking back with him too. Wondering what could have been, should have been… and what was there for the taking.
The last few years Ben grew up. He started to mature mentally, and retrospectively. And he tried to make up for lost time – time he willingly let slip away. Unfortunately, that isn’t the way it works. You get one shot if you are lucky – and maybe a window of a few great years.
Ben’s legacy in the minds of many of us who have been lifelong Steeler fans for decades will be… too little, and too late.

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