“I am hoping that I am just starting to get into the prime of my career,” said Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger is excited about the wealth of talent returning on offense for the Steelers and what the future holds.
“I think we have the potential on offense to be so good,” said Roethlisberger. “We are young and very talented.”
Roethlisberger recently talked about a multitude of topics, including how long he thinks he will play, his meeting with Steelers President Art Rooney II and his conversation with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
How long do you see yourself playing this game?
Hopefully I will play until the good Lord says I shouldn’t any more. That is the key, you play until you feel you can’t. You hope that nobody has to tell you when to stop playing, that it’s on you. That is the goal, you go until you and your family decides it’s not right to play anymore.
Wanting a long career, does it make sense that there has been talk about you tweaking your game from the standpoint of protecting yourself?
Absolutely. That is part of the discussion I had with Mr. (Art) Rooney. In order to play hopefully another eight years or whatever it is, you have to take care of your body. That is one of the reasons I am working out and doing the things I feel are necessary to be in the best shape of my life so I can improve my on-field play and longevity.
When you first heard Art Rooney say he wanted you to tweak your game, what went through your mind?
Absolutely nothing did. I knew I was going to come in here and talk to Mr. Rooney anyway and I would hear it right from the horse’s mouth. We had a good chuckle about it. He said ‘Ben we need to make sure you stay healthy. We need you on the field.’ If anything, that was a compliment.
How valuable was that meeting?
It was good to discuss being a leader, one of the oldest guys on offense, a veteran on this team, a captain. I feel it was necessary because guys always have questions, whether it’s individual questions, team, offense, defense, or whatever. For me to go right up and talk to the boss, get some answers for people, for myself, to find out exactly what he wants from us. Anytime you can talk to your boss and find out what he wants, it eliminates the guess work.
Perception versus reality is often very different. The outside perception was you were going to be told in the meeting you had to run the ball and other things. That wasn’t the case, though, was it?
No. That was the funny part. People thought I was going in there with a pitchfork and a torch. When I went in there with Mr. Rooney the very first thing we laughed about was he knew what I meant when he read those comments and I knew what he meant when he said tweak. We laughed at the general perception of what people thought was going to happen because there wasn’t anything like that from either one of us.
What is the most important thing you took away from it?
Just the understanding of where he sees this offense and team going in the future, moving forward. When you talk about reading into things, you hear what fans say, run the ball, throw the ball. I am going to ask the boss what he wants, what does he see? I think that was the best thing coming out of it.
When you say tweak your game, what do you see yourself needing to do as far as tweaking it?
Just stay healthy. That is it. Just stay healthy and you can stay on the field. I think I can help us win games if I am on the field and I am healthy. I hurt us when I am not healthy, the San Francisco game. That is the most important thing to me, making sure I am staying healthy.
Is that one of the most frustrating things, when you are out there trying to help the team and you are not able to do it?
Absolutely. All I care about is these guys and going out and fighting for them. You care about the fans and winning games for them, but when it comes down to it those guys between the lines are the ones you want to go out and battle for and lay it on the line for. When you feel like you are not helping them, it’s pretty tough for someone like me.
Where are you as far as your game? Is the best still yet to come?
I hope so. I am hoping that I am just starting to get into the prime of my career. I think that is why there was such a big deal about me saying I don’t want change. It wasn’t so much about the coordinator, although you hate to see Bruce Arians go, you hate to see anybody leave. I wasn’t upset or mad about Todd Haley coming in. I don’t know the guy. I was excited to meet him. When I said change it was more about changing the offense. I hope we don’t change that much. I feel like I am coming into the prime of my career and you hate to have a setback.
Feeling that way, is it important to you that the offense just goes through some minor adjustments not an overhaul?
I think we have the potential on offense to be so good. We are young and very talented. The less guys have to rethink things the better. There is nothing wrong with tweaking things and changing little things here and there to make us better, but if we just came in and threw the whole thing out and started over, that would be tough.
You had the chance to meet Todd Haley. While you aren’t able to talk X’s and O’s yet, did that meeting give you a comfort level with where the offense will be headed?
We talked on the phone. We had a great conversation. There was nothing about football. We talked about his kids, golf and other things in life. It was a good start and we’ll see where it goes from there.
What about on the personal level. You had a close relationship with Bruce Arians. Is it important to develop that type of relationship with Todd because you will be working so closely?
You have to. People made a big deal about me being too close with Bruce, but that’s a guy you work with every single day. You need to have some sort of working relationship where you can talk on a daily basis. Sometimes you butt heads. I think that is good in any kind of relationship. Hopefully Todd and I can have a similar relationship because I think it benefits everyone.