While all of the talk this past week concerning Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been about his ankle and small rotator cuff tear in his throwing arm, not enough credit has been given to him for his attempts to help out in getting restricted free agent Mike Wallace into camp.
Columnist Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called out the Steelers quarterback upon his arrival to training camp by saying that Roethlisberger should intervene in the Wallace situation and tell him that he\’s going about this contract thing all wrong.
The thing is, had Cook asked Roethlisberger directly about it, he would have found out that the Steelers quarterback has talked to Wallace several times and that he even offered to fly down to Louisiana to see if talking to his star wide receiver face to face would help.
“I have talked to Mike quite a few times and so it\’s up to Mike,” Roethlisberger told KDKA Radio in an interview last Wednesday. “I\’m not his agent and I don\’t work for the Steelers. It\’s on Mike and we just tell him how much we want him to be here.”
“And day one, right after the run test,” the quarterback continued, “I went up to Mr. Rooney and said, \’Mr. Rooney, what can I do to help? Is there anything I can? Do you want me to call, do you want me to go down, what can I do to help the situation?\'”
As far as the Cook calling him out, Roethlisberger said that he was a little disappointed that the columnist didn\’t come talk to him first.
If the above were not enough, Roethlisberger also echoed those same sentiments concerning Wallace to Sally Wiggin of WTAE-TV recently as well. “I’ve tried to do as much as I possibly can do on both sides to get this thing done because I love Mike. Mike’s a great teammate. He’s a great player. We want him here. We have confidence he will still be here. We have nothing negative to say about Mike. The hard part is I’m not Mike’s agent and I’m not in the front office of the Steelers, so I’m an outsider trying to pull this thing together,” said Roethlisberger.
So while Roethlisberger might be accused by many of being a drama queen by easily volunteering information about every nick and scrape that he gets, he can\’t be accused of not trying to help get Wallace into camp sooner than later like he was by Cook.
With all of the talk this offseason centered around wondering who will step up more in a leadership role now that Hines Ward and James Farrior are no longer on the team, it is clear that Roethlisberger has. At least in this situation with Wallace and likely in many more ways that don\’t get reported.
Nobody wants Wallace in camp more than Roethlisberger does, and it is evident that he has done all that he can do to make that happen. That\’s what leaders try to do.