Ben Roethlisberger Shrugs Off Comments Made By Ryan Clark Concerning How He Plays

During the bye week, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark ran off to ESPN to explain the team’s 0-4 start and work on his analyst skills on First Take. During the segment, Clark gave his thoughts on several topics and it included the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“Sometimes you have to protect Ben against Ben,” said Clark. “He’s a guy that’s great at improv, extending plays, making plays with his legs, letting receivers scramble, do the scramble drill, and hit them deep or hit them across the middle, allowing them catch and runs.

“So right now, we have to kind of tone Ben down in a sense and say, hey, right now we’re not a good enough team for you to try to extend plays, for us to take sacks, or for us to have turnovers.”

As soon as I heard those comments and wrote about them, I had a feeling that we hadn’t heard the last of them. Wednesday, Roethlisberger was asked if he had heard Clarks’ thoughts on his style of play.

“I didn’t hear about it,” said Roethlisberger. “It is what it is. I’m just going to play the game the way that I play it and try not to turn it over.”

When asked if he appreciated a teammate making comments like that, Roethlisberger took the high road.

“That’s the great thing about this country we live in. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and allowed to say what they want. If Ryan feels that way, then that’s fine,” he said.

Clark tried to clarify his comments Wednesday by saying they were misunderstood.

“When you articulate very well, and are well thought out in what you say and make a lot of sense, sometimes people try to twist it into something else,” Clark said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “When I say things, it’s going to be black and white. There’s no need to try to make it into anything else or make it like I’m talking (badly) about Ben.”

Roethlisberger and Clark are both team captains, but clearly one has the role down better than the other one. Clark plays on defense and if he wants to give constructive criticism about players on that side of the ball, I don’t have a problem with that. However, when he makes comments about the play of the offense, in my opinion, he his stepping over the line as a captain. At 0-4, these are certainly not the kind of things a team needs happening as it creates a divided locker room.

I am glad that Roethlisberger took the high road and he is certainly a better man than I am. Being as he won’t say it, I will. Ryan, you need to tone up your tackling because right now the team is not good enough to overcome you missing any more of them. How’s that for black and white?

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

    It’s obvious Clark’s offseason focus on broadcasting and setting himself up for a future in the media has carried over into the actual season. I’m not saying it’s the direct cause of his “below the line” play so far, but you have to wonder when one of your captain’s is making sensational comments like that during the team’s roughest stretch in 40+ years.

  • DAYSNWAYS

    Clark’s head is so far up his own ass, i’m surprised he can see anything to judge it!

    Bench this guy NOW!!

  • HarryBackside

    Considering Ben’s comment about Bell a couple of weeks ago, Ben shouldn’t have a problem with anyone calling him out through the media.

  • Tom Savastano

    Glad your play in stadiums is doing the talking for you Clark…

  • ATL96STEELER

    Clark’s play doesn’t leave much room for him to talk, but he’s right…this DEF can’t bail him out like they did in the past…his style is his style, I get that, but punting is okay.

  • chris ward

    Clark better show up and play this week after all this talking.

  • dkoy85

    You’re wrong. Clark is a captain talking about a captain and the single most important part of our team. Ben’s comments were made about a rookie to make sure that rookie, who plays on the same side of the ball as him knows, stay motivated and comes to practice ready to practice. At this point in his career I’m sure Ben knows how to motivate rookies.

    As far as Clark, it’s time for him to remember he is still playing football and not on NFL Network as an analyst. I sure hope there is some truth in playing Shark more against the Jets because Clark needs a little dose of reality- and that is that he is playing poorly and needs to step up his game before he looses his spot to a rookie.

  • Luke Shabro

    I don’t feel like we were saying that when we were punting about 20 times (exaggeration) against the Titans. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Yes, it would be great if Ben could throw quick outs and be efficient like the first half of last season, but that’s very hard to do when you’re constantly playing from behind, teams don’t respect the run and you have no deep threat or threat over the middle. I feel like that is changing for the better now. The return of Heath really helps and LeVeon Bell has provided a boost. I’m not expecting that those two will save the team or even the offense but it certainly takes the pressure off some. Teams can’t just crowd the LOS and wreck the short passing game. The inclusion of Wheaton definitely helps but now that he’s out that’s a slight step back.

  • Luke Shabro

    Clark’s a declining player whose best days are behind him. I don’t think he’s garbage per say (though some of his play has been) but he’s gambling and trying to do too much. You can’t have Troy up in the box and have Clark as your last line of defense while Clark is gambling wrong and missing tackles. That’s how these explosive plays keep happening, IMO. I’m just a slightly above average fan though, not an expert

  • ATL96STEELER

    That’s just it Luke…he can…we saw it last year for a short stint…then he got hurt.

    I’m still a Ben fan, but he shouldn’t get a pass on this 0-4 start…his LT has played poorly, but he didn’t play as badly as he did vs MIN all 4 games.

    Bell & Miller…yes, I think they will actually go a long way towards establishing some type of consistency and identity on OFC. I need to see a lot more from Wheaton who probably is out this week.

  • psteelers

    Ryan, I’ve been saying the same thing since last year. You guys have carried him so long he never thought it was important to learn how to be a true qb.. He rejected every overture of really becoming an elite qb in this league with his “im going to continue doing what I do” comment. He doesn’t understand he won the superbowl because he’s playing for the greatest organization in all of sports. When you can play qb on a team where for you entire career the defense only allow 17 points per game you only have to be average to have the success he has. He is a slightly above average qb imo however he and a lot of others believe he’s better than that. the steelers are better off playing with no offensive coordinator or finding a new qb because no one can properly coordinate a sand lot qb. Just look at the history, whiz suck, arians suck now haley suck. In all of those situations there is one common denominator, yes you guessed it black jack Ben. Yes, no more with the big Ben crap it’s black jack because you’ll be lucky if he scores you 21 points in a big game. Now that the defense is no longer dominant he’s being exposed. They can no longer get the ball back after his dumb decision making and it’s really showing up.

  • Terrence Phelps

    Clark hit the nail on the head. Yes, Clark is nowhere near as active as he has been in recent years. The answer is simple though, Troy is finally 100% healthy. Ryan is not asked to come up in the box and support the run as much because Troy is back to being Troy. You cannot have two safeties up. He is playing decent ball though. He does need to pick it up. His play has nothing to do about his comments though. Ben is not an elite QB and never will be. I want him to perform at a high level but he shoots himself in the foot more than anyone. I also wish we had a line that gives him more than the 3 sec jailbreak we allow on every play. Long story short…this is bigger than Ryan, and bigger than Ben. The organization needs much repair. Commence the rebuilding stages…

  • HarryBackside

    Bell didn’t need motivating. He came back from his injury two weeks ahead of schedule. Not exactly a sign of a guy who is slacking. Even if that weren’t the case, the radio isn’t the place to have that conversation.

    One of the responsibilities of being a leader, is setting an example for everyone else to follow. When Ben calls guys in public, that sends the message to the rest of the team that it’s OK to air dirty laundry through the media.

  • dkoy85

    I see your point but I still disagree. I could be wrong, but Ben typically does not “air dirty laundry.” Maybe it’s something he was seeing in Bell and he wanted to humble him- Ben is pretty excited about bell, almost school girlish- so I’m sure it was something that needed to be said and perhaps through the media is how it needed to be said.

    Regardless, Ben handled Clarks comments like a professional so I don’t think lumping his comments in with Clarks ignorant comments is justified.

  • Jeff

    Clark is a complete hypocrite on his statements. I listened to him on the Ryan Clark show on 93.7 the fan last week, and he downplayed the defense’s missed tackles by blaming it moreso on the schemes. He said “if you give people room in this league, they’re good enough to make you miss.” I’ve yet to hear Clark criticize his own play this year, so I just find it odd that he’s going to make comments about the guy who is playing the best on the team, aside maybe Antonio Brown. It’s completely hypocritical to speak so freely on the offense’s lapses, when the defense was 3rd last in the league in missed tackles as of last week. And quite frankly, Ryan Clark isn’t playing well enough to comment on how ANYONE is playing. Hey Ryan, ESPN will be there for you next year, focus on football this year.

  • samm_73

    His comments rang true. I believe he was speaking more about the defensive performance than the offensive performance. Ben does need to be a little more conservative considering the defense isn’t as dominant as it once was (Clark’s play DEFINITELY included). How many times have you screamed at the TV, just throw it away Ben! I know I have many times already this season. A turnover hurts more now that the defense gives up far more yardage and far more points. Clark spoke the truth, and I don’t really see it as bad-mouthing Ben. He even acknowledged how good Ben is at that style of play, but it’s high risk play, and the rewards haven’t been there this season. Press is making mountains out of molehills.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I personally had no problems with what Clark said about Ben. I agreed with it and have said the same thing myself. The problem with his statement is that’s something you keep in-house. Trust me, Ben is lying. He heard it.

    More troubling to me is that Clark hasn’t played well himself so how in the world can any sane person in his position make such a statement much less in the media. Plus what the heck is he doing in the media during the season…….

  • JohnB

    How about we shut up and play some football?

  • Johnny Loose

    I’m done with this story. Who cares, they’re men.

  • Dan

    Nobody’s giving Roethlisberger a pass. We’re just telling Ryan Clark to remove the log from his own eye before attempting to remove the splinter from Roethlisberger’s.