PITTSBURGH -- A day after going Christmas tree shopping with his family, Ben Roethlisberger didn’t exactly spread holiday cheer in the Steelers’ locker room.
He was often terse during his weekly chat with reporters that lasted less than four-and-a-half minutes, and he twice offered one-word answers to questions. Roethlisberger also served up this gem when asked what the Steelers need to do to finish more drives or finish games better: “We want to score every time we get the ball,” he said. “That’s our goal so we need to put up more points.”
Yeah, roger that.
If there was any doubt that the veteran quarterback is hacked off at the media over something he started it was erased when Roethlisberger was asked if it will be easy to keep the Steelers motivated.
“I’m motivated to win. I’d assume you’d have to ask everyone else in here what their motivation is, I’m sure that will get taken out of context too,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m motivated to play as hard as I can. I’m sure everyone else is.”
The passive aggressive part of that answer shows that Roethlisberger is still simmering about the post-game comments that he feels -- and rightly so -- were parsed and sensationalized. Here is the thing: Roethlisberger never would have had to vehemently deny on his weekly show two days later that there are problems between him and Todd Haley had he not injected the offensive coordinator into his post-game interview.
It happened after Roethlisberger was asked why the Steelers got away from running the ball in the second half of a 34-28 loss to the Dolphins.
“Coach Haley is over there. You could probably ask him,” Roethlisberger said. “Their scheme, I don’t know, there was no particular reason. We just tried to move the ball. I thought we did a good job passing it there too.”
That was Roethlisberger’s entire answer -- he has groused that only a “blurb” of it was used by those who ran with another Big Ben-Haley story -- and it would have been just fine had he left Haley out of it.
Has the Haley part of that answer been twisted and taken out of context? Absolutely. But Roethlisberger has to know that if he brings up Haley’s name after a disappointing loss it is the equivalent of striking a match near gasoline.
That may not be fair but it is reality, and Roethlisberger should know better 10 seasons into his NFL career.
If Roethlisberger wants to head off sensationalized stories about his relationship with Haley then the easiest way to do that is not make his offensive coordinator part of the conversation.
Especially if Roethlisberger isn’t even asked about him.