Le'Veon Bell, who didn’t play for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, spoke with Sports Illustrated about how hard it is to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And with Ben Roethlisberger in particular.
He acknowledges, “Ben is a great quarterback,” but says Roethlisberger’s personal preferences played a role in who was given the opportunity to make plays.
Says Bell, “The organization wants to win. Tomlin wants to win. Ben wants to win—but Ben wants to win his way, and that’s tough to play with. Ben won a Super Bowl, but he won when he was younger. Now he’s at this stage where he tries to control everything, and [the team] let him get there.
He adds: “So if I’m mad at a player and I’m not throwing him the ball—if I’m not throwing A.B. the ball and I’m giving JuJu [Smith-Schuster] all the shine or Jesse [James] or Vance [McDonald] or whoever it is, and you know consciously you’re making your other receiver mad but you don’t care—it’s hard to win that way.”
It’s never great to feel like you’re losing the public relations battle, so the piling on has to be tough for Roethlisberger. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that Bell and Bryant weren’t exactly the greatest teammates in the world either.
Maybe the takeaway here is that it’s truly remarkable Pittsburgh was able to achieve any success at all with all the feelings flowing around the locker room. Sounds like there was a very NBA-like vibe going around.