Ben Roethlisberger never meant to cloud a playoff run with whispers of discord and in-fighting.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback on Monday apologized to offensive coordinator Todd Haley and the Rooney family for publicly questioning his coach's play-calling following a Week 15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported the meeting, but he believes Roethlisberger remains frustrated inside Haley's scheme. Under the tutelage of former coordinator Bruce Arians, Big Ben grew into one of the smartest passers in the NFL. Roethlisberger evolved from a first-read passer into a player able to scan the field for his second-, third- and fourth-read targets.
Roethlisberger "has reverted back to a one-read guy" under Haley, according to Kaboly, and therein lies much of the player's frustration.
"I let my frustrations jump out after a game, I don't usually do that," Roethlisberger said, via The Associated Press. "Usually, I keep it under control. I was just frustrated with myself, and I'll be better at that."
The Steelers face a must-win game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. A victory would keep Pittsburgh alive and kicking for one more week in the AFC playoff picture. A loss would eliminate the Steelers and create plenty of newfound free time to ponder Haley's offense -- Big Ben's place in it -- and how to iron out these issues and quiet these grumblings on a team unaccustomed to drama.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.