There seem to be no hard feelings from Kenny Pickett towards Ben Roethlisberger following controversial comments made by the former Steelers quarterback last week.
Roethlisberger, who retired following the 2021 season, said on his “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger” podcast — in which Pickett was a guest — that he did not want to see Pickett succeed last season as his successor.
"I'll be completely honest, I'll be super transparent here, and I'm gonna get blasted," said Roethlisberger. "I probably shouldn't say this, but who cares at this point.
“I wouldn't say that I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail, but like, you know when someone comes to replace you, I still feel like I had it, 'I hope he doesn't come ball out.' Because then it's like, Ben who?"
"Early on I didn't want you to succeed because you followed me up. I didn't want it to happen. I think that's probably the selfishness of me, and I feel bad for it."
The admission by Roethlisberger gave a look into the competitive nature of the future Hall of Fame, who said that he felt like he still could have played when he elected to walk away.
Pickett, however, seemed to understand.
“Yeah, man, he's honest,” said the second-year passer of Roethlisberger. “He's out front about it and he's a fan now, and he's pulling for us. And it was really cool to hear him say that. And to get a chance to be at his house and meet his kids, meet his wife and get to know him a little bit better.
“So I think we're just going to continue to build on that relationship and reach out if I have any questions. And he said he'll be texting me. So I'm excited to go into year two with another guy in my corner pulling for me.”
Pickett was asked if he has ever felt that way, whether it be when he left high school or Pitt, and had to hand the reins over to his successors.
“The guys that I had at Pitt and in high school, I felt like I was a part of building something there, and you take a lot of pride in that,” Pickett said. “And I have so many great friends that I've played with.
“Nick Patti (who backed up Pickett at Pitt), when I saw him get in there, I want nothing — me and Nick are really tight to this day. I mean, we'll go grab a bite to eat if he's ever in the city or if we're back together in Jersey.”
While Pickett may have been the positive backer to his replacements, he gets why those connections are different than what Roethlisberger — who was never a teammate with — had to go through.
“I never met Ben, so I think it’s a little different relationship,” Pickett said. “But the guys that I've played with, I’ve had so many great memories and such great friendships.
“I always pull for those people to be successful, and I feel like I take pride in being a part of helping build something like that. So I think it's a different situation than I am, than Ben was.”