Brooke PriorESPN Writer3 minute read
PITTSBURGH — Kenny Pickett holds no grudges against Ben Roethlisberger after the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said he didn’t want the 2022 first-round pick to succeed from the get-go.
“He’s honest,” Pickett said Tuesday. “He’s up front about it, and he’s a fan now and he shoots for us and it was really cool to hear him say that. … I think we’re going to continue to build on that relationship.
“I’m excited to go into Year 2 with another guy in my corner.”
When Roethlisberger recently hosted Pickett on his podcast, “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger,” the retired Steeler admitted to feeling conflicted about the rookie taking the starting job.
“I’ll be completely honest, I’ll be super transparent here, and I’m going to blow myself up,” Roethlisberger said. “I probably shouldn’t say that, but whatever at this point. I wouldn’t say I wanted Kenny to fail necessarily, but when someone comes to replace you, I always feel like I got him, I Hope he doesn’t come ball out. ‘Cause then it’s like, Ben who?”
Roethlisberger went on to tell Pickett: “At first I didn’t want you to succeed because you followed me – I didn’t want that to happen. I think it’s probably my selfishness and I feel bad. for that.”
On the podcast, Pickett appreciated when Roethlisberger told him his attitude had changed throughout the season, and now he’s a fan of the young quarterback.
Beyond Roethlisberger, Pickett has the support of the entire Steelers organization, including backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who recently signed a three-year contract with the team. Trubisky cited his relationship with Pickett as a reason he chose to sign with the team through 2025.
“I just wanted to come back because Kenny and I have become so close and I just want to help him in any way I can,” Trubisky said Tuesday. “We have a really good quarterback room. We also like having Mason (Rudolph) back. We’re going to have a lot of fun and we’re going to get to work.
“Everything I could be for Kenny, I’m on board: extra coach, extra eyes on the pitch, I’ll be there for him, and he knows it. I think that’s also why they wanted make me come back to be in this role and help in any way I can.”