Ben Roethlisberger admits that he didn't want Kenny Pickett to succeed

Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Ben Roethlisberger just got as candid as you will ever see a former NFL player get. The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was brave enough to share his initial thoughts on current quarterback, Kenny Pickett -- despite knowing the backlash he would receive.

On an episode of his Footbahlin Podcast on YouTube, Big Ben was joined by Pickett when he opened up about the feelings he harbored for his predecessor when the Steelers first drafted him and when Pickett first stepped onto the football field.

"Yeah, I'll be completely honest, and I'll be super transparent here and I'm going to get blasted. I probably shouldn't say this, but who cares at this point. I wouldn't say that I wanted Kenny [Pickett] to necessarily fail, but you know when someone comes to replace you when I still feel like I had it, man I hope he doesn't come ball out, because then it's like 'Ben who?' right? "

Ben Roethlisberger on Footbahlin Podcast

Roethlisberger continued by admitting that he did not want Pickett to succeed early on but expressed that he feels bad about having those thoughts. Ben also expressed to Pickett openly that he now loves watching him play and believes he is the future of the Steelers.

"But honestly, as you started playing, I found myself rooting more and more for you. We sat down here and watched games, high-fiving and going nuts for you... I feel bad, I know I came on this show and apologized to you for not knowing how good he was going to be. I didn't know you were the runner that you were or what was going to happen... I think you are the future of this team... Early on, I didn't want him to succeed, because he followed me up, I didn't want it to happen. "

I respect Roethlisberger for opening up about his thoughts and feelings in this situation. It's understandable that he would think this way about Kenny Pickett at first, knowing that many fans wanted him to hang up his cleats and that Pickett was the hip new quarterback in town.

Big Ben apologized for feeling the way he did but spoke openly as he sat next to Kenny Pickett recording the Footbahlin Podcast in his basement. The former Steelers quarterback and the current Steelers quarterback joked around throughout the episode, but they clearly have a deep level of respect for each other, which is great to see.

Now it appears that not only has Roethlisberger overcome feelings of resentment toward Pickett, but he has also become somewhat of a mentor. Ben said that he enjoys texting Pickett after games, and the two have developed a solid relationship.

This is great for Pickett. Roethlisberger has been through numerous trials and challenges during his 18-year NFL career that included ups and downs, so he can lend an ear and be a mentor to the young quarterback in some of the challenges he will face.

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We still don't know if Kenny Pickett is the long-term answer at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the 2023 season should give us a very clear picture of who he will become. Either way, it's nice to hear Ben Roethlisberger speak up on the past thoughts he had about Pickett and see him pull a complete one-eighty. He now believes Pickett is the quarterback of the future and we are all interested to find out what's in store.