Work ethic rumblings continue for Roethlisberger

Work ethic rumblings continue for Roethlisberger
November 14, 2013, 10:30 pm

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First, NFL.com reported that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be asking the Steelers for a trade after the season. Then, everyone in Pittsburgh — including Big Ben — denied that was the case. So you figured maybe that was that.

Nope.

On Thursday, the NFL Network revisited the issue with the man behind the original report, Ian Rapoport, and another NFL.com reporter/columnist, Michael Silver. And Silver said the issue, from the club standpoint, of Roethlisberger’s long-term stay in Pittsburgh — meaning beyond the two years left on his contract — was that the Steelers want him to use his head more as he becomes older. Sliver said the Steelers desire "more of a cerebral player and not just a physical wonder" (via NFL.com).

Silver said he’s heard from team sources that, though Roethlisberger is “more engaged,” the Steelers bemoan that he’s “no Peyton Manning” as far as how he prepares when he’s not at the team facility.

Of course, who is Peyton Manning, other than Peyton Manning? But that aside, do these sudden droplets of information  (maybe coming from the front office?) mean the Steelers are setting the stage for actually parting with Big Ben?

Roethlisberger is 31, and though he’s an extra-large QB at 6 foot 5, 240 pounds, he has taken a lot of hits. So that takes its toll, and one of the ways that toll is paid is to eventually reduce how much Roethlisberger can keep making the plays that have helped make him so effective — those improvisations when the pocket breaks down and he somehow escapes and finds a receiver downfield.

The NFL Network and website reports may be somebody’s way of sending Roethlisberger a message to get smarter or setting up a justification should the team and he eventually break up.