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The Steel City Stare Down Between Roethlisberger & Haley Needs To End Soon


The Pittsburgh Steelers introduced Todd Haley has their new offensive coordinator last Thursday and according to an interview Tuesday evening with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the two still haven\’t sat down to talk to each other yet. Is it a huge deal? Likely not in the grand scheme of things perhaps, but it is an important deal nonetheless.

This post is not designed to choose sides as much as it is to point out how ridiculous it looks to those of us on the outside, and perhaps also to the local media in addition. Certainly both Roethlisberger and Haley own cell phones and can easily get the number of each. From the outside it looks like both are trying to posture and get into some sick sort of Steel City stare down contest.

We know Roethlisberger knows how to use a phone as evidenced by his phone interview that he gave to Mike Prisuta and in that same interview he talked about how he has called a lot of players that have played for Haley to get their opinion of him. On the flip side I assume Haley is tucked away deep in the shadows of a Southside dark film room and is pouring over years and years of game tape. I am going to go out on a limb and speculate that there is a phone within walking distance of that film room.

It is understandable that Roethlisberger has his concerns, some of which he got answers to when he talked to team president Art Rooney II and head coach Mike Tomlin since he returned from Hawaii. The rest he needs to air out to Haley.

Both have taken shots through the media as Haley made a point to say during his introductory press conference, “If you are sensitive, this is probably not the best place to be.” Was that aimed at mostly Roethlisberger? Did Roethlisberger take it as if it was aimed at him? One can only guess, but my guess is that it was aimed mostly at Ben and Ben took it that way.

Roethlisberger sent back a shot of his own in the interview with Prisuta when he was asked about how he likes being yelled at personally when he stated, “I\’ve been yelled at, it\’s not fun to be yelled at. I don\’t think anyone likes it, but to me, you get just as much, if not more, out of me if you just talk to me, whether I screw up or do good. Just talk to me or so we can work through my reasoning instead of getting yelled at.” Now you may think that Prisuta baited Roethlisberger with that question, but Ben surely knew what Prisuta was getting at.

Whose job is it to call who first? Is Haley already sending the message that the two are not going to be golfing together any time soon, and letting Ben know that if he needs something, that it is his job to come to him? Does Roethlisberger really think that putting his concerns out there to everyone except Haley will really soften the stance of Haley and the direction he intends to go in?

Both are clearly trying to mark their territory and I am sure the rest of the offense sits in limbo as a result. Sure they are all a ways away from hitting the field for practices and diving head first into the playbook, but I can imagine that Roethlisberger is perceived as the spokesmen for the rest of the offense and minister of the information he receives. That is good as long as it does not become an “us against them” type situation, which it clearly looks like it has thus far from the outside.

I think both are clearly in the wrong thus far for letting this escalate to the level that it has just five days after Haley was introduced as the new offensive coordinator. Someone needs to be the bigger man here and blink first, and I suggest that it be Roethlisberger that does it. The sooner the shit can hit the fan, the sooner it can be cleaned up and the team move forward.

Like it or not, there is a new sheriff in town and Roethlisberger needs to go out into the street and welcome him like the town mayor would. That way everyone else on the offense can breathe and both Roethlisberger and Haley can stop running around with dried out and tired eyes. For God\’s sake, somebody please blink.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Steelerfanmatt1933

    In my opinion, Haley should be reaching out to his quarterback. Ben will be there when Haley is gone, and he will be gone quick if Ben isn’t on board with his scheme. I think the coach should make the first contact.

    I didn’t like Haley, he is an ass, when he was being interviewed, but I have an unyielding trust in the Rooneys. I hope this turns out to be a good hire.

  • SteelersBall

    Can Ben use a leverage his contract? to renegotiate or not. The team needs cap room

  • JerryCola

    It’s only a big deal if one or both parties involved are making a deliberate attempt to not meet the other person.

  • Joe d

    Haley is the boss…
    Rothlisberger should seek him out… he sought out Tomlin and Rooney… but didn’t think to seek out Haley before doing the interview…
    If I were Haley, Ben would be in the doghouse already…

    And I agree with this article… they are both making an A$$ of themselves…
    who can piss the furthest sort of thing…
    this is an ego manhood thing… and Ben needs to cool it!!

  • Craig

    Trade Ben.

  • John B.

    Haha when i heard he was working out today to get in better shape, i thought Haley had already talked to him. But i think your speculation is right, i think Haley is studying tape to find out if he wants/needs Ward and what to say about Bens mechanics and whatnot. Im sure Haley hasnt talked to everyone on the offence but Ben

    At the same rate though, i’d further speculate that its better to not have them go out to dinner or call each other on the phone and get to know each other, if what i read is correct, that was the problem with Bruce. But i agree, a meeting needs to happen soon.

  • Schiffour

    Ben, as Hines are using the media too get sympathy from the fans. Look how Farrior and Smith are quite with the same dilemma as Ward. Joe Greene told us what the Steelers thought of BA and the offense for the last couple years. Ben is pissed. boohoo

  • Corybarbee

    Isn’t there anything else to write about?…who cares….they’ll figure it out…I doubt anyone was writing articles for weeks worried about Lombardi yelling at Starr….

  • Jon Chorba

    I completely agree…What is so hard about making a phone call even if it is just to say, hey lets go out and win a damn Super Bowl…

  • Grw1960

    Right now all coaching staffs are busy doing player evals and marking potential FA to keep an eye on.
    All this has to be done by Tuesday am so coaches can clear their desks and heard to the NFL combine.
    Haley is too busy for small talk right now Ben.

  • GoSteelers

    and go back to the days of stewart, odonnell, tomzack, brister, etc??? 3 out of Ben’s 8 years have been super bowl trips with 2 wins! Oh yeah, a trade would be a brilliant move…

  • Kingtut499

    On my job, When we received a new Manager, I felt that it was my job as a Manager to Welcome him, make sure he knows HE can depend on me, and give him my # so he can call me anytime so that I can help him get acclimated to his surroundings. Why? Because I trust the Owners knew what they were doingwhen they hired him. They hired me and did the same for me!
    Welcome to Steeler Nation Coach Haley! If I were Ben, I would have picked him up @ the airport, stopped @ the local watering hole, knock down a few and shoot the shit…………….
    But, before I dropped him off ask 1 question: Can you help us get it in the endzone ?
    After he says yes! I’d be watching tape with him everyday!

  • Tom

    Coaches, especially Haley, are very busy right now. Scouting combine coming up, Haley pouring over game tape with other coaches and figuring out who they really need to look at, etc. Seems understandable that setting up a meeting with Roethlisberger may not be the biggest priority now.

  • ACC

    Is NFL draft a group effort? Do each position coaches offer their 2 cents worth and mix in with OC, DC, Mike Tomlin and into one big Kevin Colbert (GM) draft consortium?

    Who constructs the actual team draft board of player ratings the day before the draft?

  • ACC

    Dave: you stated restructure means having your cash paid now. Then who and what scenario would a player say no to a “restructure”?

  • SteelersDepot

    Off the top of my head I cant see why a player wouldn’t.Unless maybe for tax purposes or something along those lines. I will ask a few agent buddies of mine though.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XBK7SSKCWKZ7F6RTJCVHABVI4 Steve Duncan

    You are right, but Ben has an ego the size of Ohio, and Haley’s isn’t much smaller. It could get ugly if they don’t get their ish together.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XBK7SSKCWKZ7F6RTJCVHABVI4 Steve Duncan

    That was an issue with Bruce, but Haley is not the type of OC to get that close with his players. I don’t see that as a risk.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XBK7SSKCWKZ7F6RTJCVHABVI4 Steve Duncan

    They all give their input on who they want (like Lake with Allen last year), but in the end, it is Colbert and Tomlin who make the call.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XBK7SSKCWKZ7F6RTJCVHABVI4 Steve Duncan

    Only scenario I could think of would be as leverage for something. If I understand it all correctly, most players would jump at the chance to get a lump sum up front, rather than risk getting hurt and losing the money on the end of their contracts. If they invest (most don’t), it makes more sense that way as well.

  • Paul

    Tomlin is Haley’s boss and Ben’s boss. He should be introducing them. Haley really isn’t Ben’s boss. If Haley fails he goes, Ben is the prize

  • Steve Terrill

    The Steelers just did the rest of the AFC by hiring Haley. The guy is a complete ego maniac that when things don’t go his way, he literally goes crazy! Talks to himself in his office, etc. Haley will go out of his to establish control over Big Ben, and it won’t happen. Whatever magic he had in Arizona left him when he became head coach. Thanks, Coach Tomlin.

  • greeny

    Tomlin is the boss and he should tell Haley to meet with Ben and discuss offensive strategies….just like any other boss does in any job…already Haley is making me nervous……If I were Big Ben I would get out of town with this fan base. Ray Lewis was actually convicted of a crime and his city and team stood by him. Suggs beat his wife up last year and poured bleach all over her body. This is unreal how you treat Ben for being a 20 something year old athlete…which is no different than a rock star or an actor

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESU2VFZHEUTQEPJ7AWSN7ODBPQ Emac2

    I think you and the media in general are causing more problems then Haley. Ben should shut up and stop crying. If I were Haley I wouldn’t call him while he was carrying on like this. Part of making him grow up is not responding to his tantrums.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESU2VFZHEUTQEPJ7AWSN7ODBPQ Emac2

    The problem wasn’t that they were close. It was that Ben felt too comfortable ignoring instruction/direction.

    It’s possible to be close to someone and also respect them.

  • JamesH

    Farrior and Smith do not have the same dilemma as Ward. A national media type never went on record saying that his sources inside the Steelers organization told him that Farrior and Smith wouldn’t be back.

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