New Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will not be the only one pushing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to step up his game in 2012, as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Wednesday morning that Roethlisberger told him that he has a little extra motivation now because New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has now tied him in Super Bowl wins with two. Both Manning and Roethlisberger were both part of the great quarterback 2004 draft class that also featured San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Roethlisberger was drafted 3rd of that group as Manning was drafted first overall by the Chargers and Rivers was drafted 4th overall by the Giants. Of course the two teams swapped quarterbacks during the draft and the Steelers selected Roethlisberger with the 11th overall pick later in the first round.
Bouchette goes on to say in his article that Roethlisberger is settled back in Pittsburgh after his extended vacation in Hawaii, where he played in the Pro Bowl, and is already working out to get ready for the 2012 season. He told Bouchette that this is the earliest that he has ever started his offseason training and that he hopes to arrive at training camp lighter than he ever has before. He added that he feels like he is coming into the prime of his career as he approaches 30 years of age.
While Bouchette reports that Roethlisberger has already met with head coach Mike Tomlin since getting back from Hawaii, Mike Prisuta of DVE Radio reported via Twitter Tuesday evening that he also has had met with Art Rooney II in addition. Roethlisberger stated in an interview during the week leading up to the Pro Bowl that he wanted to sit down with Rooney II when he got back in town to discuss the direction that the offense would be going in after it was announced that Bruce Arians would not be back as that offensive coordinator in 2012. Roethlisberger reportedly will be interviewed Wednesday on the DVE morning show to talk about the meeting he had with Rooney II as well as the hiring of Haley in addition.
While Roethlisberger shared his concerns about a change in the offense to Bouchette just hours prior to the Haley introductory press conference, it seems he is now moving forward as one would suspect he would. After all he is the team leader on offense and that is expected of him. If he is indeed using Manning as motivation, that is fine, but I would hope the motivation goes much more deeper than that. He is right when he says he is entering the prime of his career, and with the talent he has at wide receiver, and the expected attention that the offensive line should receive during the upcoming draft, there is no reason not to think that he has a legitimate shot to add two if not three more Super Bowl championships to his resume before his career is over.
Regardless of where his motivation is coming from, it is good to see him getting a jump on things already.