The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Thursday that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be back for the 2021 NFL season after restructuring his contract. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Roethlisberger reduced his pay to $14 million from $19 million.
With Ben Roethlisberger back in the fold for next season, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman got into a heated discussion on First Take on Friday since the Steelers are Smith’s favorite NFL team. Kellerman’s take on Big Ben shocked Smith, so much so that Stephen A. said Kellerman should be drug tested.
Max Kellerman says Ben Roethlisberger is the worst QB in the AFC North
Max Kellerman believes Ben Roethlisberger is the worst QB in the AFC North. The ESPN pundit told Stephen A. Smith that Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Joe Burrow are better than the two-time Super Bowl champion.
Kellerman pointed out how Jackson won the NFL MVP award in 2019, Mayfield defeated Roethlisberger and the Steelers in the Wild Card Round, and Burrow looked like a star before he got hurt. Roethlisberger is the oldest quarterback in the AFC North. He’s 39 and was picked off four times against the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card game.
After only playing in two games in 2019 due to an elbow injury, Roethlisberger appeared in 15 games in 2020. He threw for 3,803 yards and 33 touchdowns while completing 65.5% of his passes. Numbers-wise, Roethlisberger was the most productive AFC North QB last season.
However, after struggling against the Browns in the playoff game, many NFL pundits believe Roethlisberger is a game manager now instead of a difference-maker, with Kellerman being in that camp.
After Stephen A. Smith heard Max Kellerman call Ben Roethlisberger the worst signal-caller in the AFC North, the passionate ESPN personality went off on his First Take partner.
Stephen A. Smith to Max Kellerman: ‘You need to be tested’
Stephen A. Smith is a lifelong Steelers fan. Although he doesn’t believe Ben Roethlisberger is a superstar anymore, Smith wholeheartedly disagrees with Max Kellerman that Big Ben is the worst gunslinger in the AFC North.
“You need to be tested. Something the hell is wrong with you. That is just the most asinine thing that has come out of your mouth, and I’ve heard a lot of asinine things that come out of your mouth,” Smith said to Kellerman. “But this one beats the cake.”
Smith doesn’t have a problem with Kellerman picking Lamar Jackson over Roethlisberger. However, Stephen A. isn’t ready to put Baker Mayfield or Joe Burrow ahead of the future Hall of Famer.
Mayfield threw for 3,563 yards in 2020 while tossing 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Meanwhile, Burrow racked up 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns before getting hurt in Week 10 against the Washington Football Team. Both Mayfield and Burrow put up fewer numbers than Roethlisberger.
While Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow are younger and more athletic than Ben Roethlisberger, Stephen A. Smith thinks it’s ridiculous that Max Kellerman put the two youngsters ahead of the six-time Pro Bowler.
Ben Roethlisberger speaks out on his new contract
Ben Roethlisberger, who has played in a Steelers record 233 games and started a record 231, is ready to silence his critics (again) and lead Pittsburgh on one more Super Bowl run.
“It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization,” Roethlisberger said, via Steelers.com. “I am grateful to be at this stage of my career and more than happy to adjust my contract in a way that best helps the team to address other players who are so vital to our success. I love this game and love to compete, and I believe in this team and my ability to deliver when called upon.”
It will be fascinating to see how Ben Roethlisberger plays in 2021 and if he can lead the Steelers on a deep playoff run. Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman will be paying attention to Big Ben and the Black and Gold closely.
Stats courtesy of Football Reference.