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Arians on Big Ben: “The phone is always there when he needs me”


We’re going to learn a lot about Ben Roethlisberger in this coming season. According to an article written by Steelers writer Mark Kaboly, Bruce Arians was pushed out of Pittsburgh; “When I wasn’t offered a contract, it was an easy decision for me,” This is exactly what we were all thinking was the case either because Mike Tomlin, Art Rooney II or both of them though it was in the best interest of the team to move on.  I have no problems with the decision as we’ve talked about here on SA. The thing that concerns me just a tad, or should I say warrants attention, is this comment by Bruce Arians:

Arians said that Roethlisberger wasn’t happy with the decision.

“He’s not happy, but that’s part of the business,” Arians said. “He is happy for me. He lives around the corner and we’ll still see each other a lot. The phone is always there when he needs me.”

Roethlisberger and Arians live near one another in Georgia, and actually went to bat for Arians two years ago when his job was in jeopardy again.

I admit when I first read this my thought was, “oh great now every time Ben has a bad game or if he doesn’t like the new approach on offense he’s going to be calling Arians and say “See Bruce, this wouldn’t have happened if you were still here””.  It sounds a bit childish yes and Ben is a grown man so he should be able to move past whatever issues he has with the team’s decision to not bring back Bruce. Still though, for me personally I’ll be watching this story for the rest of the offseason and as the 2012 campaign gets underway.  It’s no secret that the two were close, and Ben went to the defense of his former coordinator in the past when he job was on the line. You have to admire that about a player, believing in his coaches and wanting them to stay.  You to wonder how much he went to bat for Arians after the season was over but I would bet he had at least a couple of meetings with the coaches and Art Rooney II.  Mike Tomlin said in a press conference that Ben would have no input on the coaching decisions to come. When I heard it seemed that he was almost trying to save face and make sure people know that he is the head man on this team, not letting the inmates run the asylum if you know what I mean.

Change isn’t always easy but in the end it can be a very positive thing.  There is no doubt that Arians has had a big influence on Roethlisberger’s game over the years and some of his improvement can be attributed to BA.  We would be remiss if we didn’t stress that point.  We have said all along that Arians is not the worst play caller in the league, the team could have done a lot worse over the years, i.e. Ray Sherman.

None of us will ever really know just how upset Roethlisberger is or is not right now and how long he’s going to hold on to that resentment.  For all we know he’s out there in Hawaii with Arians and QB Coach Randy Fichtner just having a great time preparing for the pro bowl and not dwelling on the past at all. That he’ll come back to Pittsburgh with an open mind, a healed up ankle, and willingness to embrace the potential of the new philosophy on offense. Hopefully once the offseason programs start that will be the case, and I’m not suggesting that it won’t be, but it will be an interesting story line to follow. Time heals all wounds and he’s got plenty of that now because the team won’t start a serious regimen of mini camps and OTA’s until after the NFL draft.  The Steelers will go as far as Roethlisberger can take them, regardless of how good the defense or running game is.  They need him to be on top of his game and we should expect nothing less from the ultimate competitor and game day gladiator that Ben Roethlisberger has proven to be.

Matt Pappas
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