Reputations are funny things. Joan Jett doesn’t give so much as a damn about hers but she’s a kick ass rock chick and that is a big part of her charm. Ben Roethlisberger has a reputation too. His reputation is based on his history of being prickly towards the media, passively aggressive towards his employers, a bit of a hypochondriac, and being umm…. overly gregarious? Ben worked the first seven years he was in the NFL to polish and perfect that reputation. He has spent the last two seasons attempting to soften his exterior; he makes more time for fans and the media, has redoubled his charity work, gotten himself hitched to a nice young woman, and graduated from college. OUTSTANDING, GUMP!! The Ben Roethlisberger, that ‘Big Ben’ persona, that all of the media (except super douche, Mark Madden) and half of the fan base love to hate still occasionally rears his slicked backed, hairy head. He’s the guy that demands to play against San Francisco then publicly questions whether the coaching/training staff should have allowed it. He’s the guy that says that Todd Haley’s offense is difficult to learn, not what he is used to, has completely different language attached to it, and that he will have to wait and see if it is going to work. I guess Roethlisberger can still be ‘That Guy’; he can still be ‘Big Ben’. He can still retroactively deflect the possibility of future failure by saying that the fans and the Rooney’s chose this new offense. He’s just telling you right here and now that if it doesn’t work, don’t come running to Ben. He’s not sayin’ anything. He’s just sayin’. Oh, and he’s ‘kind of a big deal around here’ too….. Or maybe it will be the broken thumb that nobody knew about but that he still played the game with. That is either who Ben is or it is the reputation that has been attached to him. They’re kind of funny, those reputations.
Heath Miller is a fan favorite (they’re not ‘booing’ they’re yelling ‘HEEEAAATTHHH’). Heath’s reputation is that he is a total team player. There’s no ‘Heath’ in TEAM! He is a lunch pail and hard hat fella who does what is needed when it’s needed; block like an all pro tackle: CHECK. Catch a big gainer over the middle: CAN DO. Play through an injury: YES SIR. Present an affable yet earnest face of the team: ALL OVER IT. Bring ZERO negative press to Steelers headquarters: CHECK, CHECK, and DOUBLE CHECK.
Heath was interviewed at the Steelers’ OTA’s recently. He was his usual friendly and engaging self. Practice jersey and eye black present with just enough sweat showing to let us know that ol Heath’s a workin’ guy like you and me. Ol Heath was asked how the implementation of Todd Haley’s offense was going. Heath said it was different, a bit difficult to learn, not what he was used to, and had different verbiage attached to it. BUT, Heath added that he was ‘Sure it was going to be working smoothly by the time the season started’. There were no headlines the next day labeling Heath Miller a whiner or a malcontent. No ‘Heath is just all about Heath’. That is not his reputation. Heath Miller is a great guy! That’s Heath Miller’s reputation. Wild, wacky, weird, and funny is what you get when you get a reputation.
Ben and Heath go together like peas and carrots: They were both first round picks by the Home Team (Ben in ‘04, Heath in ’05), each has been two time Super Bowl winners, and they can both be counted on in the clutch to perform at the highest levels.
Ben and Heath go together like drinking and driving: Heath is a ‘Yes, Ma’am, No, Ma’am’ kind of boy that comes to work without bitching. Ben is a stand in front of his locker, looking paunchy, and reading the second least sincere letter of apology in like, forever (Ryan Leaf is forever #1 in that category) jabroni.
That is the diametrically opposed reputations that these two men have ‘earned’ and I am sure they will keep them for life. Isn’t that funny?
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