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Is Big Ben A Big Quitter?

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Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Ben. Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Ben. Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

Reports out of Pittsburgh claim Ben Roethlisberger wants out and will ask the Steelers to trade him at the end of the year. I, for one, would love to watch him pack his bags.

As a general rule there are not many things in sports I dislike more than athletes that demand to be traded. Usually because they aren’t happy. Not happy with their coach, their playing time or the direction of the team.  Sometimes they even claim they aren’t feeling appreciated.  That one is my favorite: “I don’t feel appreciated.”

To quote Don Draper, “That’s what the money is for!”

They remember the money right? The un-Godly amount they are paid to play a game millions of children play every weekend for free? The money they demanded when times were good and they were happy?

Can you imagine this scenario in any other walk of life? In fact, try this with your boss tomorrow. Walk into their office and tell them, “Remember that promotion and raise I got last year? While I appreciate it I’m just not happy here anymore. I’m not happy with the direction the company is headed in, I don’t like working for you and I’d like out. But, I’m not quitting. No, no, no. What I want is for you to get on the phone and call around to all the other companies in the area and find one I’d like better that would be willing to continue to pay my current salary. And listen, if you can’t find one I guess I’ll just continue to collect my check here but I won’t really be happy about it. Thanks.” 

Pretty sure the next conversation you’d be having would be with your local unemployment office.

But not in pro sports and certainly not if you’re a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Which brings us back to big Ben.

Here’s a guy that signed a contract worth 22 million dollars (40 million with incentives) as an unproven rookie. He was drafted by one of the greatest franchises in NFL history and unlike most rookie quarterbacks that are drafted by the equivalent of a broken down DeLorean, Roethlisberger was handed the keys to a Cadillac. A team built to win a Super Bowl and thanks to the officials that’s exactly what they did versus Seattle his second year. A Super Bowl where he had the worst statistical game of any winning quarterback in history. A performance so bad it actually made it seem as if Joe Namath deserved the MVP in Super Bowl III.

The offseason before that Super Bowl run he wrecked a motorcycle. He didn’t have a helmet or a license. The Steelers stood by him.

He signed a 100 million dollar contract in 2008 and a year later was named in a civil suit for sexual harassment. The Steelers stood by him. In 2010 he was under investigation for sexual assault in Georgia. The Steelers stood by him. Charges were never filed but the NFL felt compelled, because of repeated personal shortcomings off the field, to suspend him for four games. The Steelers stood by him.

Now, when times are getting tough and the Steelers are looking towards entering a rebuilding period, Big Ben wants out. He doesn’t offer to work out a Tom Brady type extension and give the team some salary cap relief and flexibility to rebuild with, he just wants out.  Apparently loyalty and support are one way streets in Pittsburgh.

Reports claim he isn’t happy with the direction of the team. That he doesn’t like his offensive coordinator. That he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding effort. I’m sure any day now we’ll here all about how his opinions aren’t considered and he just doesn’t feel appreciated any more.

Even if that’s what the money was for.

Week 10 Blitz

Arian Foster is done for the year with a back injury. Further proving the shelf age for an NFL running back is less than a package of Twinkies.

The Dolphins are in negotiations to star in next season’s run of “The Real Housewives of Miami”

Jerome Simpson arrested for DUI. Apparently a cabs are too expensive even for millionaires.

Richie Incognito says he regrets using racial epithets. I think what he meant to say was, he regrets getting caught using racial epithets.

Jacksonville will go 0-16 and could still thump Alabama any day of the week. People saying otherwise are clearly delusional.