Ben Roethlisberger learned under journeyman Tommy Maddox.
But he apparently didn’t learn enough. At least when it comes to what happens off the gridiron.
Twice in 2017, Roethlisberger publicly flirted with retirement.
Yet when his Steelers traded up to draft a quarterback in the third round, he bristled.
Days later, he had an opportunity to pull his foot from his mouth in an appearance on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.
He didn’t take it.
“I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid,” Roethlisberger said. “I just don’t know how backing up or being a third [string] — well, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart — helps us win now.”
Roethlisberger joked about how little interest he has in mentoring the team’s newest quarterback.
“I don’t think I’ll need to, now that he said he doesn’t need me. If he asks me a question, I might just have to point to the playbook,” he said, laughing.
After the Steelers selected him in the third round, Mason Rudolph said it wasn’t Roethlisberger’s job to teach him.
Before the draft, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to play for multiple seasons to the front office, in an effort to dissuade them from drafting a quarterback.
In 2003, Maddox had his first full season as a starter at the ripe age of 32. It’s a low bar, but he was far more gracious when the team drafted Roethlisberger in the first round the following offseason.
Though he was upset because the team had told him they’d draft an offensive lineman rather than a quarterback at No. 11, Maddox didn’t let that interfere with helping the rookie meant to replace him, despite Roethlisberger’s refusal to take part in a Steelers tradition that had rookies supply breakfast to their respective position groups on Saturdays.
“I took a lot of pride in how he played,” Maddox said of Roethlisberger in 2006, after his final season in Pittsburgh. “I wanted him to do well, be successful.”
“He’ll meet me halfway out on the field to answer a question for me,” Roethlisberger told USA Today in 2005. “I owe so much of my success to his help.”
Two things you’ll probably never hear Rudolph say about Roethlisberger.