Ben Roethlisberger scared Steeler Nation on Tuesday, suggesting that he will mull retirement this offseason.
Roethlisberger, 34, led the Steelers to an AFC North title and nine straight wins before getting blown out by New England, 37-16, in the AFC Championship on Sunday. That loss, however, likely wasn’t what spurred his retirement comment.
“I feel like there’s been a changing of the guard and Ben now finds himself as one of the last holdovers from those Super Bowl-winning teams,” Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan host Andrew Fillipponi said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I don’t know if he really likes the Steelers locker room right now. I think part of what he said today was motivated by maybe some of his unhappiness or real frustration with some of his teammates. I don’t think he’s going to ultimately decide to retire because of those frustrations, but I did interpret and read between the lines today and felt like maybe he said that because there’s just something about the atmosphere here and the players he’s around that he just doesn’t really like. I don’t think that he feels like there’s accountability here.”
Is that because the players don’t hold themselves accountable or because the coaches don’t demand it?
“I think that it’s both,” Fillipponi said. “I think that the coaches allow for it. I don’t think that Mike Tomlin, for all of his strengths as a coach, I don’t think that he’s a good enough disciplinarian sometimes. I understand that with a guy like Antonio Brown, you have to pick your spots. You can’t bench one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, but I feel like Ben is eyes wide open. He’s fully aware that way too many exceptions have been made. And if you think about it, the only time Mike Tomlin decided to speak out or publicly reprimand Antonio Brown was when it made Mike Tomlin look bad. There have been other instances here, from the excessive celebrations to on Sunday Brown was upset that he didn’t get the ball on the play DeAngelo Williams scored on. He was actually pouting after the Steelers made it a 17-9 game.
“This is stuff that Ben just doesn’t want to deal with,” Fillipponi continued, “and I do think that it trickles down to younger guys on the team. They see that, it doesn’t set a good example, and I think that the coach to some extent has allowed that environment to take hold. So I think it’s two-fold. I think it’s the younger players who are ready to take advantage of that, and you’ve got a coach here that doesn’t maybe feel comfortable cracking the whip enough.”