There\’s a new club in Pittsburgh called the 08\’ers and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked Thursday on 93.7 The Fan about how it was formed and how head coach Mike Tomlin is not catering to them during the offseason practices.
“Day one, coach Tomlin asked for anybody that was with the Steelers in 2008 to come into the meeting room, and he wanted to talk with us,” said Roethlisberger. “He kept all of the other guys out and so, I don\’t know the exact number, but there weren\’t very many of us.
“So we now have a nickname called the 08\’ers and there\’s very few us, and coach basically said that he\’s going to cater this OTA\’s, camp, and practices to the young guys, because they\’re the majority now, and we\’re the minority.”
Assuming long snapper Greg Warren was included, the 08\’ers club that Tomlin pulled aside probably totals 12 members. Being that Tomlin is now catering the offseason practices to the younger players, it likely means that there is even more teaching by the veterans going on than ever before, and Roethlisberger for one says he enjoys that role.
“There\’s not a lot of us old guys left anymore, so to me; I\’m enjoying the opportunity to be an even different kind of leader than I\’ve been the last couple of years. To be a coach,” said Roethlisberger. “I got a chance to pull a couple of rookies aside today and said a few things to them, and I really felt like it resonated with them. To see these guys look at you and almost have a fatherly look – they\’re looking at you like, yes, yes, yes.”
With veteran quarterbacks Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich no longer on the team this year, Roethlisberger did admit that it is different not having them around, but that he is adjusting to helping the other quarterbacks more as a result.
“It\’s weird, because I\’ve been so used to after my reps in practice kind of going and talking to the receivers or the tight ends or running backs and focus kind of on the plays – what just happened, because I was so used to doing it, because I knew Byron and Charlie knew what the heck they were doing,” said Roethlisberger. “So I never had to worry about help coaching them or whatever.
“Now, I get caught trying to help more, because the first two days, Bruce (Gradkowski) came and said, \’Did you see this, this and this?\’ And I\’m like, you know what, I didn\’t, because I was doing something else, and I feel bad. So I\’ve really made an effort to kind of watch those guys and help.”
Roethlisberger has been absolutely fantastic so far this offseason and it really does appear as though he\’s taking on an even bigger leadership role on the team than he had last year. 2013 will more than likely be the last season for several members of the 08\’ers, so hopefully the Steelers quarterback can give those players another Super Bowl ring to commemorate their membership.