Dorsett: Big Ben “lucky” to still be a Steeler

Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hugs a teammate after the Steelers defeated the New York Jets 24-19, winning the AFC Championship, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 23, 2011. The Steelers will face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Something that hasn’t gone unnoticed amidst all the Super Bowl hype is the fact that Ben Roethlisberger has come a long way since his offseason troubles. It seems like decades ago that Big Ben missed the first four games of the season after being suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for his off-field behavior.

And as Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett pointed out to ESPN’s Matt Mosley, Roethlisberger is fortunate to be where he is right now.

When I asked Dorsett about Ben Roethlisberger’s issues, he was quick to respond:

“They will not allow a player to smear the organization,” he said. “They wanted to let that situation run its course. But I promise you he is very lucky to still be on that team.”

Dorsett wasn’t reaching with his comments. Roethlisberger is very lucky to still be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. There was talk of the team trading him around draft time in April and while they never did, this season still could have played out much differently.

Considering they played the Falcons, Titans, Bucs and Ravens to start the season, you can’t blame pundits who thought the Steelers would be fortunate to start the year 2-2. But they went 3-1 with Big Ben on the sidelines, which is a testament to the team that Kevin Colbert has built over the years. (“Team” being the operative word.)

What would have happened had the Steelers lost three of their first four games instead of winning three of four? While we can’t assume anything, it’s not a stretch to think that they would not have earned the No. 2 seed and therefore, may not have reached the Super Bowl. Worse yet, what if Big Ben’s suspension at the start of the year sent this team into a tailspin and they never recovered? What if he played poorly upon his return?

It’s interesting to look back at what has happened over the last six months or so.

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