Ben Roethlisberger Weighs in on Steelers Starting Quarterback Debate

Ben Roethlisberger with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers look on against the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2021.

On Sunday Sept. 4, recently-retired Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger debuted his new weekly podcast Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger. In addition to learning that Big Ben enjoys gardening and wears camouflage Crocs, we also learn who he thinks should be the starting quarterback for the Steelers.

Roethlisberger: Trubisky ‘the Best Chance to Win Right Now’

“In my opinion, I think Mitchell Trubisky is the starter. He should start. I think he’s a veteran, he’s been around for a while. He gives you, in my opinion, the best chance to win right now,” began Roethlisberger.

But the longtime franchise quarterback gave props to rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett, who the Steelers selected No. 20 overall in the 2022 draft.

“I think Kenny has done a great job. From what I’ve seen in the preseason you wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh man, he’s a rookie, he’s got some learning curves.’”

Roethlisberger went on to say, “I think it would benefit him — I would say this about almost all rookie quarterbacks — it benefits you to sit behind a veteran for a little bit of time.” That’s something that Big Ben did for about a game-and-a-half, before an elbow injury to Tommy Maddox forced him into the starting lineup in Week 3 of his rookie season.

Trubisky Will ‘Really Help Kenny a Lot’

Roethlisberger also believes Trubisky will do an excellent job helping prepare Pickett for the rigors of being a starting NFL quarterback.

“I think he’s going to mentor Kenny and I think he’ll really help Kenny a lot, but in my opinion it should be Mitch’s job for the time being,” re-confirmed Roethlisberger. “And if Mitch plays well, keep him in there.”

Big Ben also cautioned against having Trubisky on a short leash, and warned about the risks of making Pickett the Week 1 starter.

“It’s really hard to go back and forth. If you put Kenny in there and he starts to struggle and then you put Mitch in, you really can’t go back to Kenny. Going back and forth like that is really hard. You want to keep one guy in there as long as you can and go from there,” he concluded.

Certainly, that’s a very reasonable and measured take all the way around, and probably much along the same lines as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is thinking.

But it should be noted that Roethlisberger may not be a completely unbiased observer, as he has at least something of a relationship with the 28-year-old Trubisky, who went to his house for dinner around the time of the 2022 draft.

“It was so nice of him to open his house and have dinner with him and just have those conversations and get to know him,” Trubisky told Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For him to allow me to get to know him and pick his brain and talk about what it means for me to be the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it really meant a lot to me.”

Meanwhile, it appears that Roethlisberger has kept his distance from Pickett, not entirely unreasonable insofar as there’s a 16-year age difference.

Recall that Roethlisberger attended Steelers practice on August 24. After the session was over, “Kenny Pickett said he was hoping to talk to Ben Roethlisberger after practice, but didn’t see him when leaving the field,” noted Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

And during his post-draft press conference, Pickett was asked if he had any kind of a relationship with Roethlisberger, having trained and practiced at the facility next door for the previous five years.

Not much,” said Pickett, before noting that he was not yet sure whether Big Ben had texted him. During rookie minicamp Pickett did reveal that “Ben called me up recently and that was awesome.”

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments