On Friday May 13, Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Kenny Pickett met with the media during Day 1 of Steelers rookie minicamp. In the midst of that session, he revealed that recently-retired Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called him sometime after the team selected him No. 20 overall out of the University of Pittsburgh.
“I’ve heard from all the quarterbacks that are here and Ben called me up recently and that was awesome,” began Pickett. “He definitely said he’s always there for me if I have any questions or advice. He’s an unbelievable player — a Hall of Famer — so he’s a guy that I will definitely use as a resource in these coming weeks here.”
That reveal is getting more attention than one might think, because the two quarterbacks don’t appear to have had a pre-existing relationship, despite practicing at the same facility for the past five years.
In his Football Morning in America column on May 2, 2022, longtime NFL journalist Peter King indicated that “Pickett told me he got to know (Steelers head coach) Mike Tomlin a bit from passing by him to and from the practice field, and walking in and out of the buildings” that the Steelers and Pitt Panthers share on the city’s South Side.
But “(h)e never got the chance to talk ball with Ben Roethlisberger — which seems odd to me, to never chat with Roethlisberger in five years,” added King, even though Pickett did watch Steelers practice “a lot.”
Steelers Fans React to the News That Roethlisberger Called Pickett
After Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweeted about the call on Twitter, it sparked a wide range of opinions from Steelers fans.
“Leader. Even in retirement. One of the many reasons @_BigBen7 is a first ballot Hall of Famer” tweeted Chris Morelli.
Another observer thought it disingenuous that Roethlisberger would reach out to Pickett now, after not doing so in the past.
“Now he wants to be there for someone? Lmao. What a joke,” wrote Zachary Donaldson.
Another fan speculated how longtime Steelers backup Mason Rudolph would react to Roethlisberger offering help to Pickett. Keep in mind that Roethlisberger was critical of the team’s decision to select Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
“I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team now,” Roethlisberger said at the time. And rightly or wrongly, the perception is that Roethlisberger and Rudolph had little to no relationship during the four seasons they played together.
Last but not least, another fan referenced a recent comment from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac indicating that Roethlisberger is upset with the Steelers, arguing that Roethlisberger calling Pickett somehow disproves the notion that Big Ben is unhappy with his longtime employer.
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Steelers Sign 3 More 2022 Draft Picks
In other news from Saturday May 14, the Steelers announced that they have signed three more of their 2022 draft choices, namely sixth-round pick tight end/fullback Connor Heyward and seventh-round picks linebacker Mark Robinson and quarterback Chris Oladokun.
On Friday May 13 the Steelers announced the signing of 2022 second-round selection George Pickens, the first of two wide receivers taken by Pittsburgh in the most recent draft.
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