Ben Roethlisberger openly admitted to Kenny Pickett himself that he hoped his successor would start his NFL career on a high note.
Pickett was the heir to Roethlisberger’s throne after the latter hung up his shoes in 2022 after 18 NFL seasons: the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Pickett with the 20th pick last year and he earned the starting job 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 transparent about this. I’m going to get criticized, I probably shouldn’t say this,» Roethlisberger told Pickett on his «Footbahlin» podcast. «From the beginning, I didn’t want you to succeed… That’s selfish on me, and I’m sorry about that.»
But Pickett really 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 outspoken about it, and now he’s a fan, and he’s rooting for us, and it was really cool to hear him say that… I think we’re going to continue to build on that relationship.»
Roethlisberger got his wish (which he seems to regret), as Pickett didn’t get off to the best start.
In his 13 games played, the former Pittsburgh Panther has thrown seven touchdowns and rushed for three others while being intercepted 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 second-year receiver in George Pickens and veterans Diontae Johnson and newcomer Allen Robinson.