Steelers’ Cam Heyward Fires Back: ‘I Think Ben Was a Little out on That One’

Getty Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger celebrates with DT Cam Heyward.

If you follow the Pittsburgh Steelers during the offseason — and since you’re reading this, you do — you’ve noticed the tennis match of sorts between Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Heyward.

In his first in-depth interview since retiring in January, Roethlisberger spoke freely on various topics with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook — maybe too freely.

We’ve all heard about it by now.

The primary bone of contention was Roethlisberger’s comments which appeared to be taking jabs at his former teammates.

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When Roethlisberger was asked about his biggest regret, it was easily winning just three playoff games since the Super Bowl loss Green Bay Packers a decade ago. He seemed to lay the onus at the feet of his ‘me-type attitude’ teammates.

“I feel like the game has changed,” Roethlisberger told Cook. “I feel like the people have changed in a sense. Maybe it’s because I got spoiled when I came in. The team was so important. It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other.

“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard.”

Cam Heyward: ‘They Rub Me the Wrong Way’

Fans and the media have eaten Ben Roethlisberger alive for that statement, which was clarified a few days later by the man himself in a July 28 radio interview (more on that below).

Jeff Hartman, editor of the fan-driven Behind the Steel Curtain, wrote a concise take on the shenanigans that I think we can all agree with.

Hartman closed out his letter with: “At some point, Roethlisberger will just fade into the background and become just another former player, but it seems the 18-year franchise quarterback isn’t ready to do that yet. Will he ever? That’s certainly debatable; I just hope it happens sooner rather than later.”

But it was Cam Heyward’s rebuttal that Roethlisberger heard. Heyward took the criticism personally and lobbed it back to Roethlisberger with a response via his new podcast Not Just Football.

“They rub me the wrong way,” Heyward said about the comments.

“I was a little bit upset about it because I was always raised to protect the locker room, protect the guys. The way it seems is — and this is my point of view, this is what I see — it looks as though we’re looked at as selfish players. And I think that’s not the case. I think we have a lot of young players that come from different backgrounds. I think we have guys that have experienced different things than what I, or somebody else might experience, and that doesn’t make them selfish or it doesn’t make them more of a ‘me-type attitude.'”

Heyward continued by saying there are more team-first guys than selfish ones on the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I took offense to that.”

The Steelers All-Pro spent five minutes of his podcast defending his team as any great defensive captain would.

“When it all comes together, we care about one thing, this logo right here,” said Heyward as he pointed to the logo on his Steelers hoodie.”

Ben Roethlisberger Responds

The Steelers legend took heed to Cam Heyward’s rebuttal and responded less than 24 hours after the podcast dropped. Roethlisberger threw his former teammates under the bus in print and felt the urge to rectify the matter on the streamwaves. He appeared on the WDVE Morning Show to clarify his comments and smooth things over with Heyward and his former squad (and, in doing so, perhaps the fans, too?).

Rather than saying Heyward and others misconstrued his comments, Roethlisberger said he should’ve been more clear. It was his take on the league overall and wasn’t meant to be targeted at his former Steelers teammates.

“It was a very broad stroke kind of comment… I probably should have been more detailed, more specific.”

Roethlisberger explained that the difference in the league from his perspective is the “mentality of the players and toughness.”

“Cam and I have sat down many times in the last couple years and had the same conversation. So it’s not like it’s new to Cam.

“I agree with [Cam],” Roethlisberger continued. “The majority of the guys on [the Steelers] are very team-first guys. I hate how it got painted. It’s not that way; there are so many great team guys on that team that care about the Steelers, this organization and winning.”

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