Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who reportedly lobbied the front office to match the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet that wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed with the New England Patriots, is very happy to have the SMU product back for the 2013 season and said that it\’s good for the team.
Roethlisburger talked to Mike Prisuta of DVE Radio following the Steelers decision to match and he heaped praise on Sanders.
“He’s a lot better than people give him credit for being,” Roethlisberger said of Sanders, via the report made by Prisuta on his blog. “He’s really smart.”
Roethlisberger thinks that Sanders can play either outside or in the slot and told Prisuta that the Steelers former third-round draft pick possesses a physical skill set that’s a combination of speed and quickness.
“If he stays healthy I think he can do some great things,” said Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger did not stop with Sanders, however, as he also told Prisuta that it\’s hard to lose a guy like wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency.
As far as the Steelers offensive line goes, the veteran quarterback believes that they could potentially be the best unit that he has ever had if they all can stay healthy. Last season, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Willie Colon and David DeCastro all missed several games due to injuries. Even center Maurkice Pouncey missed nearly two full games due to a knee injury suffered early in the loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Roethlisberger has been front and center this week for the first phase of the Steelers offseason program and he talked to Teresa Varley of steelers.com on Monday about him being the example setter and what he has told those that are in attendance.
“I wanted to tell them this is the start of the 2013 season,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s important for us to know if we want to be the best we can be it starts now. I wanted to let them know that I am here to help and support them, and I plan on leading any way I can.
“We have had so much change. We lost a lot of veteran guys. I look around and I think there are only five or six guys on this team that are older than me now. It’s important for me as a leader and a quarterback to be here and show guys I am dedicated to this team and this season and am doing what I can to be the best I can be.”
Good for Roethlisberger. Actions speak louder than any words can and this team will only go as far as he can carry it. The team has indeed lost quite a few players this offseason, but all are replaceable.
Roethlisberger is entering his second year of working with offensive coordinator Todd Haley and he will also be in line for a big extension next offseason in addition. There don\’t seem to be any more distractions ahead of him right now and hopefully things can stay that way moving forward.
As far as Sanders goes, at least he will have two of his three receivers back from last season. Sanders needs to, however, have a career year, and I am sure that Roethlisberger is making sure that he understands that now that the Steelers decided to match the Patriots offer sheet.