Ben Roethlisberger out to prove doubters wrong — again

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Ben Roethlisberger is heading into his 18th season. With all of that experience — 231 games worth — he shouldn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

Still, season after season, there are doubters. And, like many of us, Roethlisberger’s fire is stoked by critics saying ‘he can’t do it anymore,’ ‘he doesn’t have it anymore.’

Roethlisberger may have started it himself. Back in 2017, following a lopsided loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in which he tossed five picks (two returned for touchdowns), the quarterback famously said, “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.”

With Big Ben at the helm, Pittsburgh won nine of the next 10 matchups, the only loss to the hated Patriots, 27-24.

In the months leading up to the 2020 season, critics were at it again. After nearly a year away from football following a season-ending elbow injury, Roethlisberger was out to prove he still had it.

Another year older, surgically-repaired elbow and all, Roethlisberger’s 33 touchdowns were the second-highest of his career and interceptions (10) the second-lowest.

Cam Heyward, one of his biggest supporters, said that with the revamped offense and new weapons in Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth, Roethlisberger will be dangerous.

“Having a great balance is going to make him that much more dangerous,” Heyward told Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “I know our offensive line is in flux, but they are going to be better because they are learning a different system. We bring in another running back. Our receivers are a year older. We bring in another tight end. All of these different things can help Ben, and I am excited for him.”

Heyward, who as a teenager watched Ben help the Steelers win two Super Bowls, unsurprisingly has his QB’s back.

“I am not here to say that my quarterback is not able to do it,” Heyward said. “I’ve seen this guy win Super Bowls on TV and see in day in and day out, and you just get frustrated because I know Ben puts in work, and I know how much he cares about this team. If he didn’t want to do it and if he was just here for the money, that’s one thing. I don’t think we ever have to worry about that. When he steps into this building, he is 100 percent dedicated.”

Roethlisberger is no stranger to new offenses, new coaches, new players. He’s been around the block.

Time to silence those critics… again.

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