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Big Ben ‘hurt’ by Emmanuel Sanders’ unflattering comments


Ben Roethlisberger didn’t hide the fact that he was hurt by comments made last year by former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Emmanuel Sanders that Peyton Manning was a better leader than him.

With the Steelers set to face Sanders’ current team, the Denver Broncos, this Sunday, Roetlhisberger not surprisingly was asked about how Sanders praised Manning’s leadership abilities at his expense.

“Whether he meant it or not, it hurt in a sense that I tried so hard to keep him here last year and was always supporting him,” Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by way of Eye on Football. “When he was down in practice, I always talked to him. When he had a baby, I was trying to help him.

“I was more disappointed he didn’t reach out to me. I know he told some other guys: ‘You know I love Ben, I didn’t mean it like that.’ I wish he would have reached out to me and just say that and I would have been fine with it.”

Shortly after Sanders signed with the Broncos during the 2014 offseason, he went out of his way to praise his new quarterback, saying in part, “I feel like Peyton is a far better leader, in terms of staying after practice, catching balls, wanting guys to get on the same page with him, things of that sort. This is the first time that I had a quarterback that stays every single day after practice, no matter what his accolades. He’s not one of those guys you gotta go chase down.”

Sanders did attempt to do some damage control during the same comments, adding, “I’ve got so much love for Ben (but) at the same time, I’m not going to lie. I’m happy to be part of this organization and happy that Peyton is my quarterback.”

Regardless of Sanders’ thoughts, Roethlisberger seems to be doing quite well with his remarkably skilled wide receiver corps. And if Sanders is happier now, too, so much the better.