In a recent episode of his podcast, Ben Roethlisberger revealed to Kenny Pickett that he didn’t want to see him succeed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 2004 NFL Draft class saw three teams have long-term stability at the quarterback position based on their selections. The Pittsburgh Steelers were one of them after they drafted Ben Roethlisberger, who led the team for 18 years, before announcing his retirement after the 2021 season.
With that, the Steelers needed a new quarterback, and they opted to use their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Pittsburgh Panthers signal caller Kenny Pickett.
This past season, Pickett showed promise and led the team to two clutch wins late to help the Steelers earn a winning record.
Pickett made an appearance on Roethlisberger’s “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger podcast” to discuss a variety of topics. When asked about Pickett replacing him, Roethlisberger admitted that he didn’t necessarily want to see him succeed. Roethlisberger told Pickett that that was “probably the selfishness of me and I feel bad for it.”
You can view Roethlisberger’s comments in the video below at the 1:29:19 mark of the YouTube video below:
Ben Roethlisberger admits he didn’t necessarily want to see Kenny Pickett succeed
“I’ll be completely honest and I’ll be super transparent here, I’m going to get blasted, I probably shouldn’t say this, but who cares at this point. I wouldn’t say that I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail, but like when someone comes to replace you and I still feel like I had it, I hope he doesn’t come and like ball out. Because then it’s like ‘Ben who,’ right? But honestly, I think as you started playing, I found myself rooting more and more for you. We sat down here and watched games and we were high-fiving and going nuts when you were leading the team and doing things, you know. And running and trying to fight people and doing all of that stuff…
“I felt bad and I came on this show and I apologized to you for not knowing how good he was going to be. Like, I just didn’t know. I had no idea. I didn’t know that you were the runner that you were. I just didn’t know what was going to happen, I wasn’t aware. I was pleasantly surprised, I’m glad that I was wrong in the sense of where I had you. I thought you would be a quarterback that was good…I think you’re the future of this team, I really do.”
Pickett was the headliner of what was a weak quarterback draft class. He shined in his four years at Pittsburgh and ended it all by beating Dan Marino’s single-season and all-time passing touchdowns records in the program’s history. It was only fitting that the quarterback whose team shared a facility and stadium with the Steelers, donned the black and yellow uniform.
To start the year, Pickett was the firm backup behind starter Mitchell Trubisky, but entered in relief in Week 4. From there, he became the starting quarterback.
While Pittsburgh’s offense as a whole didn’t light up the NFL world, Pickett did show potential to be the guy under center for a considerable amount of time after leading the team to clutch, game-winning drives against the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens in Weeks 16 and 17.
In his rookie season, Pickett threw for 2,404 yards, seven touchdowns, and nine interceptions while completing 63.0-percent of his passes. Additionally, Pickett ran for 237 yards and three touchdowns on 55 carries.
Not only do the Steelers as a team feel like Pickett can be their long-term answer at quarterback, but so does Roethlisberger after watching him in his first season with the team.