Former Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was fully transparent when discussing how he felt seeing rookie Kenny Pickett under center last season.
Roethlisberger officially hung up his cleats after the 2021 campaign, finishing his career with two Super Bowl victories, six Pro Bowls, the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004 and the most wins by a Steelers quarterback in franchise history with 166.
However, with Roethlisberger calling it quits, Pittsburgh had to reset at the most important position. But on his “Footbahlin Podcast,” with Pickett as a special guest, Roethlisberger said his true thoughts about his successor leading the offense.
“I’m going to be sure transparent about this. I’m going to get blasted, I probably shouldn’t say this,” Roethlisberger said. “Early on, I didn’t want you to succeed. … That’s selfishness in me, and I feel sorry for that.”
Pickett was the Steelers’ first-round pick in last year’s draft, though he wasn’t the consensus starter heading into training camp. It was a true competition with Mitch Trubisky, another first-round pick of the past, and he ended up winning the job over the New Jersey native.
Trubisky ended up losing the job, though, and Pickett ended up starting for the first time in Week 5.
The Steelers committed to developing Pickett as a starter for the rest of the season, though he missed Week 14 with an injury. He ended up going 7-6 as a starter with 2,404 yards, seven touchdowns and nine interceptions over his rookie campaign.
This season, Steelers GM Omar Khan has said Pickett is their starter heading into camp. However, Trubisky was signed to an extension and Mason Rudolph was brought back to round out the quarterbacks room.
Pickett is no Roethlisberger, but Big Ben is rooting for his success now.