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Tomlin: Steelers Replacing Roethlisberger at QB ‘Scary but Exciting’

The Steelers will have a new starting quarterback for the first time since 2003, as Ben Roethlisberger retired after the 2021 season.

Head coach Mike Tomlin took over the role in ’07, meaning he’s never coached another full-time starting quarterback other than Roethlisberger. He admitted on The Pivot podcast this week that he’s nervous for the new era, but excited as well.

“I’m looking forward to the anxiety associated with that uncertainty,” Tomlin said. “To have to stand and deliver, to live out what we believe in. The standard is the standard. It’s like McDonald’s. You know what a No. 1 is. It don’t matter where you go, what corner of the globe, a No. 1 is a No. 1, and that’s what I want Pittsburgh Steelers football to be. So it doesn’t matter who puts their hands underneath the center as far as I’m concerned. But, all that cool stuff being said—It’s scary, but exciting.”

The Steelers were busy this offseason regarding the quarterback role, signing former Bills backup Mitch Trubisky to a two-year deal, then drafting Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett in the NFL draft. These two join Mason Rudolph, who has remained a backup on the team for the last three seasons.

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The starter has yet to be named for the 2022 season, but Tomlin thinks whoever it is has big shoes to fill as Roethlisberger’s successor.

“First of all, the dude’s (Roethlisberger) talent,” Tomlin said. “When you watch somebody do something at a certain level for so long, it messes up your perception of what’s regular and what’s not. The dude’s arm talent was so special for so long. When you see special stuff every day, you get used to it. I’ve enjoyed that comfort, we’ve all enjoyed that comfort. I’m excited about being uncomfortable. Yeah, we might not have the type of quarterback play that we’ve had, we might not have the special talent that we’ve had, but we got capable dudes. And we’ve got a team.”

During Tomlin’s tenure, he’s had 15 consecutive non-losing seasons (three seasons resulted in .500 records). The Steelers will look to continue that streak in 2022.

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