Ben Roethlisberger sends public message to his ex-offensive coordinator who moved to Cleveland

When the Pittsburgh Steelers opted not to renew the contract of offensive coordinator Todd Haley, there was a lot of talk about the “strained” relationship between Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Well, Roethlisberger is the one doing the talking this week, and he’s had nothing but compliments for his former OC, who was officially named to the same position for the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday.

Speaking to the media during preparations for Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida, Roethlisberger said he is grateful for the success the Steelers’ offense had during Haley’s tenure.

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“You look at the track record — top five offense every year,” Roethlisberger said, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I thought was very impressive. What he brought to us with the playcalling, things like that, was awesome. I thank him for everything he did.”

“We had a great run, very successful when he was here,” Roethlisberger told NFL Network’s Jane Slater. “Just thankful for the opportunity I had to play with him and be a part of that offense and now we have to face him twice a year. So we’ll see how that goes.”

Roethlisberger recalled his conversation with Haley after Pittsburgh’s loss to Jacksonville in the AFC divisional round.

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“We talked and laughed about the season and how proud we were of how we improved as an offense,” Roethlisberger said. “To be able to come out as the top three or five offenses … just how proud we both were of everything that was accomplished with this offense.”

This week, Roethlisberger told KDKA-FM in Pittsburgh that while there were disagreements between himself and Haley, it was not a contentious relationship.

“You’re always going to have riffs, if you will,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s players and coaches, it’s not just Coach Haley and I. There’s always issues in a competitive field like we have where everyone is trying to win and everybody is trying to be the best they can be.

“When things were perceived when we had all these issues, we’d go into his offense and talk and iron it out and it would be fine.”

While it may be natural for disagreements between quarterbacks and play callers, not all of their disagreements were as public as some of the blowups between Haley and Roethlisberger.

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In November, CBS cameras caught Haley screaming at Roethlisberger after the quarterback called a timeout before a two-point attempt in a game at Indianapolis.

“It was crazy,” said Roethlisberger. “That’s nothing new, him screaming at me during games. You guys [in the media] just never see it. At the time, you move on. You really can’t get caught up in it.”

Even in 2012, Haley’s first season as Pittsburgh’s play caller, Roethlisberger openly questioned Haley, calling his offensive philosophy “kind of a dink-and-dunk offense.” After a loss to Dallas that season, Roethlisberger told reporters, “I just don’t think we called the right plays.”

Now Haley will be calling plays for the division rival Browns, who have lost 22 of 24 games against the Steelers with Roethlisberger at quarterback.

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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