Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger unquestionable leader

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In the serial daytime drama that currently personifies the Pittsburgh Steelers, every key player plays his part. Antonio Brown currently sits as the biggest antagonist, creating melodrama at every turn. Le'Veon Bell is a scorned lover trying to move on. Ben Roethlisberger, the star simultaneously holding things together and needling others in the process.

Brown calling out Roethlisberger on social media seems to have struck a nerve with team brass.

During his media session with reporters on Wednesday, GM Kevin Colbert emphatically supported his quarterback.

"Ben Roethlisberger is unquestionably the leader of this team," Colbert said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Not [just] by my standards, by the standards the team recognizes."

Brown, during a Twitter Q&A over the weekend, said Roethlisberger had an "owner's mentality" in how he addresses teammates, especially using his weekly local radio spot to blast other players for mistakes. Colbert said he has no problem with Big Ben calling out teammates publicly.

"If our players were smart, they'd listen to him because he's been there, he's done it," he said. "He can tell them, 'No, guys, what you're doing is or is not good enough to do this.'

"I have no problem with him. He can call me out and that's fine. What he does I totally respect because I've seen him too many times win games for us and come through in situations."

Colbert cited Roethlisberger's fiery halftime speech during the comeback win over the Jacksonville Jaguars this past season as an example of how Big Ben's leadership works, noting that the quarterback took ownership of his own poor play first before telling teammates they must also improve. (That example ignores that the Jags did just as much to lose the game in the second half with horrific play calling as the Steelers did to win.)

The GM made it clear Big Ben has carte blanche to lead how he sees fit.

"Ben Roethlisberger is our only Super Bowl winner," Colbert said. "As the quarterback and as that Super Bowl participant, it's a big burden for him, it really is. We've talked about this with some of our guys. It's a tremendous weight for him to have to carry that week-in and week-out because this team looks to him, as they should, as a franchise, Hall of Fame quarterback. It's a huge responsibility.

"But we also believe it's part of the responsibility of our other players to fill in the blanks, help Ben through this journey."

With Le'Veon Bell hitting free agency and Antonio Brown forcing his way out of town, it's Colbert's responsibility to provide Big Ben with the next wave of playmakers to help the QB in the final phase of his Steelers career.

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