One of the kids who used to play with Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t think the Steelers quarterback should have carte blanche to call out whomever he pleases.
Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison said during an interview on the NFL Network that the current drama in Pittsburgh — where the best players are leaving town, and management is justifying the quarterback ripping teammates — could have been avoided if coach Mike Tomlin would have taken charge.
“I start off at this same thing with [Mike] Tomlin. The head guy has to be the one that takes charge,” Harrison said. “I believe it’s fault on, even with my situation, it’s fault on me. It’s fault on Tomlin. It’s fault on the team. It’s got to this point because Tomlin has allowed a certain amount of things to go on and rather players take advantage of that or step beyond that, it’s got to a point where it’s so far out that now he can’t reign it back in so to speak. And with that being the case it’s Tomlin. It could be some blame on A.B. [Antonio Brown] It could be some blame on Ben. It can go around.”
Harrison’s own history with Tomlin is worth noting, as he tried to get released in 2017, a process which dragged on until late in the season. He’s also questioned Tomlin’s leadership style as a problem before. But hearing General Manager Kevin Colbert to coddle Roethlisberger was difficult for him, since it puts the quarterback on a plane above everyone else in the building.
“For me, Ben being the unquestioned leader, I have no problem with that situation other than the fact that no one is beyond unquestioned,” Harrison said. “That’s a big statement. If I’m in that locker room, I just got put under ’52 kids.’ I’m feeling some sort of way. Even if I didn’t feel that type of way before, like even if there wasn’t a rift on the radar. Now I’m like ‘Is that how they really view me up top?’
“And I think this is what Antonio [Brown] may have said where he said he felt like Ben had an owner’s mentality. And you have the G.M. that’s saying this and that’s how guys may feel, even though that may not be the case. As far as when I was there that’s not how I felt. I communicated with Ben just like I did any other player. We agree or disagree and so on and so forth.”
Harrison said he got that Colbert was trying to back his quarterback, but got “a little overzealous with it.”
But this is the bed the Steelers have made, repeatedly. And now Roethlisberger’s going to have to lie in it without one of the best receivers in football.