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Ben Roethlisberger: ‘I wasn’t a good teammate early in my career’

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Ben Roethlisberger, now 33 and entering his 12th season, is now considered an elder statesmen in the always-getting-younger National Football League.

The veteran Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller, given the benefits afforded by time, wisdom and maturity, looks back at the player he was earlier in his career and now realizes he could have been a much better teammate.

“I’d be the first to admit I wasn’t a good teammate early in my career,” Roethlisberger told Dan Pompei for an informative and enlightening piece of the quarterback for Bleacher Report.

The quarterback goes on to admit he understands how his immaturity and selfishness as a young player may have rubbed teammates the wrong way, in particular Hines Ward, with whom the quarterback allegedly butted heads during his rookie season in 2004.

“There are some guys who had animosity towards me, and probably rightfully so,” Roethlisberger said. “I probably could have helped that by being a humble guy who was the best teammate I could be.”

Pompei writes that Roethlisberger began to recognize during his fourth year in the league that he better grow up and see things in a big picture if he was to be considered not only a great teammate, but one of the best quarterbacks in the game.

“With time, you understand you can’t keep being a selfish player or person,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s the ultimate team sport, and in order to be successful, you have to be selfless. Just like being a successful father, you have to be selfless.”

The Steelers signal-caller clearly has moved along from a past where trouble seemed to find him frequently off the field, including a motorcycle accident in 2006. But even more damning were separate sexual assault allegations in both 2009 and 2010, although criminal charges were not filed in either case. The latter incident did result, though, in Rosethlisberger being suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season.

Now a sage and wise leader of men who is a far cry from the brash young player full of bravado who made bad decisions, Roethlisbeger is a changed person, something that has earned praise from his teammates as well as their respect.

“He helped me be a better player by always challenging me,” said wide receiver Antonio Brown. “No matter what you achieve, he’s always harping on continuously improving, finding ways to be better.”