OTA Recap, Day 1: Ben Roethlisberger, and the Steelers, move on to the 2019 season

Time to check in on what went down at the UPMC Practice Facility for Organized Team Activities.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had one heck of an offseason, and shockingly enough none of it had anything to do with the team’s 9-6-1 record and missing the playoffs. No, it all surrounding the drama between Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger and even Le’Veon Bell threw his name in the mix periodically.

The drama couldn’t come to an end soon enough, and the Steelers turned the page from 2018 to 2019, officially, with the first day of Phase 3 of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) starting Tuesday. This meant the first day with the rookies and veterans together, the first time it could be offense vs. defense and the first time the Steelers can finally put the saga behind them that was the 2018 season.

As for Ben Roethlisberger, he certainly had a lot to deal with this offseason, and his quotes from his media session sure were noteworthy. Read the full quote below from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, and check out the video courtesy of the Steelers official Twitter page:

Roethlisberger claims to be re-focused, but that he also heard the criticism of him as a leader and is making adjustments. Where to start? Try showing up to more OTA workouts than usual.

This per Will Graves of the Associated Press:

The Steelers want to move on, and this is a sentiment you will hear echoed throughout the rest of OTAs, at least early on. But now we turn our focus to all of the different storylines and notes which took place on Day 1 of OTAs:

  • Cam Heyward Speaks

Heyward is a defensive captatin for a reason, when he speaks people listen. Read, and watch, what he had to say when it came to getting back to work and putting 2018 in the rear view mirror:

When was the last time you heard a veteran so excited just for OTAs? Oh yeah, one who felt like they’ve just been put through the ringer this past offseason.

  • Turnovers are key

Joe Haden knows the Steelers’ defense didn’t live up to the standard they set for themselves last season, and he also knows he is a part of those failures. The goal is to take the ball away more in 2019…and it started Tuesday.

  • The new guy gets a taste of what it is like being the black-and-gold

Steven Nelson was brought in to assist the defense in taking the ball away, but first he has to get acclimated to his new surroundings. Nelson talks to DKPittsburghSports about the transition.

  • Diontae Johnson knows

The rookie wide receiver from Toledo knows who everyone compares him to — Antonio Brown. But he doesn’t shy away from those comparisons. Johnson talks about how he has studied Brown and feels they have a lot in common when it comes to his overall game.

VIDEO/PHOTOS

Podcast: Why Ben Roethlisberger should have taken the middle road

In a brand new show titled ‘Yeah, I said it’, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At this point you heave heard, or read, Ben Roethlisberger’s one-on-one interview with KDKA TV in Pittsburgh. Maybe you watched the interview and thought, “Ah, Ben took the high road.” Or maybe you watched and thought, “What the heck? Why doesn’t Ben blast Antonio Brown like Brown blasted him while leaving town?!”

Either way, the high road or the low road, the best course of action should have been the middle road.

Not sure what the middle road would be in this situation?

This is where the newest BTSC podcast “Yeah, I Said It” comes in. My co-host on ‘The Standard is the Standard’, Lance Williams, talks about how Roethlisberger should have made a statement, but without making a scene.

Lance is the perfect man for the job, and delivers the goods in the latest show.

Check out the audio below:

Feel free to give us your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, and don’t forget to follow us on all our audio platforms by following the links below:

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Black and Gold Links: The reversing of the Steelers’ turnover trend started Tuesday

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 season is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. As the team now turns their attention to more offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp, there is no shortage of news.

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how it is well known the Steelers need to produce more turnovers, but getting those is a different story altogether. On Tuesday, the first day of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Joe Haden and company began a turnover quest.

Let’s get to the news:

  • More turnovers for the Steelers defense? Yes, please.

Joe Haden takes first step toward turnover turnaround for Steelers defense

By: Jonathan Bombulie, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

On the very first play of the seven shots two-point conversion style drill on the very first day of organized team activities Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, cornerback Joe Haden joined the conversation.

Haden stepped in front of tight end Vance McDonald in the flat and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass to the delight of his defensive teammates.

“It was me and Vance out there on an island,” Haden said. “He ran an outside release, so I thought it was going to be a fade. Then when he sunk his hips down to run a comeback, I just undercut it. And then I looked back and the ball was there, so I had to pick it off.”

Haden was aware of the obvious glass half-empty interpretation of the play. His quarterback, who led the league with 16 interceptions thrown last season, began OTAs with another one.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • While most might think the Steelers could have had their locker room split after the Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell saga, the opposite is true. The team is closer now than ever.

Steelers veteran Ramon Foster says team is closer than ever

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“I feel like we are closer now than we ever have been,” the 11th-year offensive lineman said while walking off the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex fields Tuesday.

Foster, who signed his fourth Steelers multiyear contract in March, called the previous 4 1/2 months “one of the longest-shortest offseasons ever.” Of course, the Steelers navigated through the loss of Le’Veon Bell in free agency and the eventually granted trade demand from Antonio Brown after Brown effectively left the team during Week 17.

Brown and Bell had critical comments about the team in between – and national media, former players and others piled on, too, mostly toward Ben Roethlisberger.

Foster defended his quarterback Tuesday, and he said all the drama around the Steelers has made team unity even stronger.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Did Ben Roethlisberger’s one-on-one interview leave a sour taste in your mouth? You aren’t alone…

Kevin Gorman’s Take 5: Ben Roethlisberger misses mark in interview

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

What KDKA billed as “The Interview: Ben Roethlisberger” was a pre-emptive move by Big Ben to share his side of the story before the Steelers open voluntary organized team activities on Tuesday morning at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side.

Bob Pompeani went one-on-one with Roethlisberger, with the first part of the interview airing during Monday’s 6 p.m. newscast and focusing on his relationship with Antonio Brown.

The All-Pro wide receiver took shots at Roethlisberger in talking his way into a trade to the Oakland Raiders – saying on HBO that Roethlisberger “feels like he’s the owner” – but Pompeani said Brown didn’t respond to KDKA’s requests for an interview.

The second part is expected to focus on the two-year contract extension worth $68 million, with a $37.5 million signing bonus, that Roethlisberger signed last month.

Big Ben missed the mark, only causing more questions.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Somehow, some way, Ben Roethlisberger took the blame for the Antonio Brown garbage this offseason.

Roethlisberger: AB ‘made me who I am’

By: Dale Lolley, DKPittsburghSports

Ben Roethlisberger has been quiet throughout the offseason, despite a pretty public divorce between the Steelers and Antonio Brown in which the star receiver said comments by the quarterback led to Brown wanting out of Pittsburgh.

But with the Steelers set to open Phase 3 of their OTAs Tuesday, Roethlisberger spoke with KDKA-TV’s Bob Pompeani and expressed regret over everything that happened.

“I took some heat and deservedly so for some of the comments on that show and especially towards him,” Roethlisberger said, referring to comments made on his weekly radio show on KDKA-FM. “I genuinely feel bad about that and I’m sorry. Did I go too far after that Denver game? Probably.”

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Social Media Madness

Ben Roethlisberger vows to be at more OTAs this year while two former Steelers miss workouts

Ben Roethlisberger was painted as a poor leader, but this poor leader will be spending a lot of time at OTAs getting accustomed to his new team.

Sometimes things are just funny. Maybe it is the way some people go about their business, or in this case it is how some people speak out of both sides of their mouth.

What I’m referring to would be the comments made by Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell, while they both departed the 412 area code this offseason for new teams. Brown to the Oakland Raiders via trade, and Bell to the New York Jets via free agency.

Brown called Roethlisberger a horrible teammate and a bad leader. Said he never cared and wished he had the work ethic to match his own. While no one is questioning Brown’s work ethic, which is on clear display on a multitude of platforms, you do have to find it funny when the man who was calling Roethlisberger a poor leader/teammate is the one who is absent from Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on the west coast.

When it comes to former Steelers, and their whereabouts during OTAs, Le’Veon Bell also decided to not show up and spend time with his new team. You know, the teams they both were so excited to join.

Meanwhile, back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger declared he will be spending more time with the team during OTAs, mainly because of the amount of new faces on the team.

So, for those who thought the criticism Brown, Bell and many others threw at Roethlisberger’s leadership and character would go out one ear and out the other — think again.

While this story is hardly breaking news, Roethlisberger is showing he is willing to change to help the team win — even at this stage of his career. It would be easy for him to sit back as a 15 year veteran and just say it is his way or the highway, but instead he heard the criticism, and is making changes.

Meanwhile, Bell and Brown have yet to be seen at the facilities of their new teams…

Ben Roethlisberger said what he had to say to end the saga with Antonio Brown

Many fans were upset Ben Roethlisberger didn’t continue the war of words with Antonio Brown, but Roethlisberger said what he had to say to end the saga.

Well, I fell for it.

And I’m sure many of you reading this article fell for it too.

When KDKA news started to promote Bob Pompeani’s one-on-one interview with Ben Roethlisberger, I was excited to hear what the Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise quarterback had to say after Antonio Brown, and a myriad of others, bashed his name, legacy and integrity this offseason.

The interview would be broken down into two parts. One at 6 p.m. ET, and one at 11 p.m. ET. I watched both, and was left with a, “What did I just watch?” feeling.

I fell for the bait, hook, line and sinker, and watched every second of the interview waiting for Roethlisberger to say something which resembled what the fan base felt as they witnessed their former All-Pro receiver talk his way out of town running over as many as he could before heading to the Oakland Raiders.

I wanted to see Roethlisberger talk about being angry, upset and frustrated.

I wanted to hear Roethlisberger’s side of the story.

I wanted Roethlisberger to say something other than, “I’m sorry.”

But that is the difference between myself and Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger saw the big picture, while I was staring directly in front of me. I wanted the immediate reaction, while Roethlisberger understood his actions would benefit the team more than bashing Brown would.

With Roethlisberger taking the high road, many have voiced how Roethlisberger missed a golden opportunity to clear his name. But what Roethlisberger did was attempt everything he could to finally put an end to this whole Antonio Brown saga. If Roethlisberger were to go on the air with Bob Pompeani and talk about how Brown was a horrible teammate, and give several different examples, then this feud would continue to fester and be a toxic poison for the Steelers moving forward.

He avoided all that by just saying he was sorry. He apologized to Brown for his comments made during his radio show, for anything which might have offended him and hopes the two of them could continue to be friends.

Needless to say, Brown took to social media with a tweet which just said two words:

Two Face.

And this just cements the reasoning behind Roethlisberger’s words/actions.

Rather than turn defensive, Roethlisberger stuck to his game plan and allowed Brown to say whatever he wants. As he was talking, the page was turning to the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers season. And with Organized Team Activities (OTAs) starting Tuesday it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Was this prepared? You bet.

Was it planned? No doubt. But the timing of everything was impeccable.

Say what you want about Roethlisberger, his leadership and his most recent comments, but he has essentially closed the book on the Brown and Ben saga once and for all. I think I speak for all of us what I say, “About time!”