Ben Roethlisberger: I’ve ‘earned the right’ to criticize teammates

Big Ben believes honesty is the best policy.

Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday doubled down on his candid criticism of fellow Steelers players and coaches, saying “I think I have earned the right to do that with as long as I have been here.”

“And I’ll just be just as critical of myself, as well,” he told reporters.

His comments came a day after he leveled harsh critiques at two teammates and a coach on his weekly radio show, which airs every Tuesday morning on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan.

On the show, Roethlisberger called out Antonio Brown’s route running during a late interception in the Steelers’ 24-17 loss to the Broncos on Sunday, offensive coordinator Randy Fitchner’s play calling during the final quarter and rookie wide receiver James Washington’s drop in the third quarter.

It’s common for quarterbacks to have shows or segments on local radio stations. Eli Manning has a weekly appointment with WFAN’s Mike Francesca and Tom Brady goes on WEEI in New England.

But Roethlisberger has gained attention for saying whatever’s on his mind. The two-time Super Bowl champion said he views it as a motivational tactic.

“You have to know how to motivate different guys in different ways,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “I think that’s part of being a leader, being a captain, just understanding players. So sometimes you just grab them off to the side, and sometimes you have to be honest with them.”

The longtime Steelers captain has been with the team since he was picked No. 11 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft.

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Calling out teammates on his show, which is in its sixth season, isn’t new for Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette even has a weekly feature called the “Ben Roethlisberger Radio Transcript Show.”

Roethlisberger, though, seemed unconcerned with how his teammates and coaches might interpret his critiques.

“Go ask them,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “I have no idea. I would hope that they would understand that as the quarterback and the captain that I have the right to do those things. I don’t feel like I abuse that situation. So I don’t think it’s an issue, but you would have to ask them.”

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