Ben Roethlisberger openly admitted to Kenny Pickett himself that he hoped his successor did start his NFL career on a high note.
Pickett was the heir to Roethlisberger’s throne after the latter hung up the cleats in 2022 after 18 NFL seasons — the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Pickett with the 20th pick last year, and he earned the starting job in early in the season.
But Roethlisberger, despite ending his career on his own terms, was still a bit salty.
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“I’m going to be sure transparent about this. I’m going to get blasted, I probably shouldn’t say this,” Roethlisberger said to Pickett on his “Footbahlin” Podcast. “Early on, I didn’t want you to succeed. … That’s selfishness in me, and I feel sorry for that.”
But Pickett actually understood where Roethlisberger was coming from, and he has no hard feelings toward him.
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“He’s honest,” Pickett said Tuesday. “He’s out front about it, and he’s a fan now, and he’s pulling for us, and it was really cool to hear him say that. … I think we’re just going to continue to build on that relationship.”
Roethlisberger did get his wish (that he seems to regret), as Pickett didn’t get off to the best start.
In his 13 games played, the former Pittsburgh Panther threw seven touchdowns and ran for three others while getting picked off nine times. He completed 63.0 percent of his passes for 2,404 yards.
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Pickett will enter his second season with a healthy Najee Harris, a sophomore receiver in George Pickens and veterans Diontae Johnson and newcomer Allen Robinson.