On May 11, 2022, longtime Pittsburgh Steelers insider Gerry Dulac stirred up controversy when he said it was “safe to assume” that there is some “bad blood” between Ben Roethlisberger and his former employer. Steelers fans, by and large, tended to dismiss Dulac’s comments, with some choosing to believe that Roethlisberger’s offer to mentor 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett refutes the idea that he’s upset with the organization.
Appearing with Eddie Provident on DK Sports’ Ramon Foster Show earlier this week, former Steelers offensive guard Ramon Foster added context to both of those news bits.
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Money at the Root of the Problem?
“As far as Ben leaving on bad blood or bad terms, there could be an inkling,” said Foster, before making reference to the fact that Roethlisberger took a pay cut to return for one final season. Recall how Steelers president Art Rooney II said that the team would not be able to bring Roethlisberger back (for the 2021 season) without addressing his cap hit.
“Maybe he didn’t want to take the pay cut — you know what I’m saying? — to stay around,” elaborated Foster.
“If you were to ask me if there was one thing that really got him — and not even really got him,” that might be it, said Foster, a former undrafted free agent out of the University of Tennessee who blocked for Roethlisberger for 11 seasons, between 2009-19.
Foster went on to make clear that he wasn’t questioning Dulac’s reporting, saying, “Not discrediting Gerry. From my understanding (Gerry’s a) very good insider, okay?”
But he believes the situation might be more akin to a “blip” in the relationship than any major issue, especially as compared to say, former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who distanced himself from the organization in the aftermath of his retirement but mended fences prior to his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2021.
“I don’t necessarily think there was bad blood because Ben got the opportunity to go out the way he wanted to, in my opinion. That walk-around that he got at the stadium last (home) game … I thought that was a hell of a walk-off,” said Foster, who has been working as a sports talk-radio host (for 104.5 The Zone in Nashville) since September 2020.
“There may be some smoke there, but from my impression in talking to ‘7’ — the texts, the calls — he was good and at a good place” at the very end, concluded Foster.
Ramon Foster on Ben Roethlisberger’s Call to Kenny Pickett
Meanwhile, Foster also took the opportunity to weigh in on Roethlisberger’s offer to help Kenny Pickett make the transition from college QB to future starting quarterback of the Steelers, noting that the 40-year-old Roethlisberger might feel a certain kinship with Pickett, as both were first-round picks who had veterans ahead of them on the depth chart as rookies.
But he dismissed the idea that the situation is an any way analogous to the relationship between Roethlisberger and veteran Steelers backup Mason Rudolph, who presented a potential threat to Roethlisberger’s job security.
“It’s easy to mentor Kenny being out of the room, out of the building, (and) away from the franchise,” concluded Foster.
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