Notebook: Roethlisberger questions Steelers' QB pick

By The Sports Xchange
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reacts to a call during the AFC playoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars in January. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI..
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reacts to a call during the AFC playoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars in January. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI.. | License Photo

Ben Roethlisberger raised more than eyebrow with the Pittsburgh Steelers' decision to select fellow quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Roethlisberger expressed his displeasure with the pick because he viewed that it could have been better served with a player who could immediately help the team.


"So I was surprised when they took a quarterback," Roethlisberger said Friday on KDKA's Cook and Poni in Pittsburgh.

The depth chart behind Roethlisberer, 36, consists of Landry Jones as the backup, 2017 fourth-round pick Joshua Dobbs and Rudolph. Roethlisberger, who has two years left on his current contract, said he plans to play three to five more years.

Rudolph was 32-9 as a starter with Oklahoma State and owns 54 school records.


--Free agent cornerback Jeremy Lane received a 364-day suspended sentence in relation to his January arrest for suspicion of DUI.

In March, Lane pleaded guilty to an amended charge of reckless driving after being formally charged with a DUI earlier that month.

As part of Friday's sentencing in King County Court in Redmond (Wash.), Lane can't commit any violations of the law for two years. The 27-year-old, who was fined $5,000, also is required to complete two days on a work crew, an alcohol/drug evaluation and follow-up treatment.

Lane was arrested outside of Seattle on Jan. 14 on suspicion of DUI. His blood-alcohol level (.039) was well within the legal limit, but Lane admitted to the arresting state trooper that he had smoked marijuana prior to driving.

--Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson has handed over the reins to the offense to Todd Haley.

Jackson told reporters that Haley, the team's new offensive coordinator, has "total autonomy" with the offense.

Haley has guided the offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last six seasons, a club that finished eighth in the NFL with 25.4 points per game last season.


--New York Jets coach Todd Bowles told reporters that there are no restrictions on quarterback Sam Darnold, who was selected by the team with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

"(I'm not) inhibiting him," Bowles said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Bowles also said that "time will tell" on whether the former USC star will develop into a franchise quarterback. Darnold completed 303 of 480 passes for 4,143 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, last season. General manager Mike Maccagnan indicated Wednesday that Darnold will compete with incumbent Josh McCown for the starting quarterback job this season.

--New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shared a very simplistic reason as to why he feels NFL ratings have been on the decline for the last few years.

In short, there's a lot going on in the world.

"There's so much for us to consume, I mean, as we all know, there's so much happening," Brady said.

--Michael Strahan is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a charter member of the New York Giants' Ring of Honor.


In addition, Strahan is the anchor on Good Morning America, the host of The $100,000 Pyramid game show and an analyst on FOX NFL Sunday. In short, one can find the 46-year-old on television almost as many frequently as Seinfeld re-runs.

So why haven't the Giants retired his jersey number?

Well, Giants fans are trying to change that omission with an online petition (, one that has former fullback Brandon Jacobs on the list.

"Mike's jersey should definitely get retired. There is no question about it," Jacobs told NJ Advance Media.

Strahan played 15 seasons (1993-2007) and totaled 141.5 career sacks in 216 games with the Giants.

--The San Francisco 49ers signed three of their nine picks from the 2018 NFL Draft to four-year rookie contracts, the team announced.

Third-round defensive back Tarvarius Moore (Southern Mississippi) and seventh-round defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (Temple) and wide receiver Richie James (Middle Tennessee State) were signed by the 49ers.

--Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden wants rookie defensive tackle Maurice Hurst to be judged by the heart he shows on the field, as opposed to a condition that likely led to him dropping in the 2018 NFL Draft.


"I'm not going to answer any more health questions on Hurst," Gruden said of the team's fifth-round selection, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I realize there's a lot of ghost stories out there about unnamed sources ... I hope you just judge him on the field. He's been cleared medically, and I'll just leave it at that."

While Hurst has said that he has "no concerns at all" about his health, some NFL teams reportedly crossed off the Michigan defensive tackle their draft boards after he was diagnosed with a heart condition at the Scouting Combine.

Hurst, one of the top prospects at his position, was sent home from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis when irregularities in his heart were detected. However, Hurst subsequently received medical clearance to resume playing football and was allowed to participate fully in Michigan's Pro Day.

--Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward was expected to miss Saturday's rookie minicamp practice session because of a hip injury.

Ward, who was the fourth overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, exited Friday's practice after sustaining the injury. He is being held out for "precautionary reasons," according to the team's website.


Ward participated in individual and one-on-one drills with wide receivers Friday before exiting the session.

--The Minnesota Vikings signed two more draft picks, leaving only first-round selection Mike Hughes unsigned.

Defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes, a fourth-round pick out of Ohio State, received a four-year deal worth $3.191 million, which included a $731,000 signing bonus. Tight end Tyler Conklin, a fifth-round pick from Central Michigan, got a four-year contract worth $2.741 million.

Hughes, picked with the 30th selection from Central Florida, remains unsigned. He is taking part in a rookie minicamp, which started Friday and finishes up Sunday, under an injury protection agreement.

--One perceived knock on Lamar Jackson coming into the 2018 NFL Draft centered on his accuracy, with one unnamed offensive coordinator going so far as to say "when he throws, he hopes."

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh apparently doesn't share that view. He praised the accuracy of the former Louisville quarterback that was selected with the 32nd overall pick of the draft.

"The thing that I was really impressed with is I thought he was accurate," Harbaugh told reporters of the 21-year-old Jackson.


Jackson passed for more than 3,500 yards and ran for more than 1,500 in each of the final two college seasons before declaring early for the 2018 NFL Draft.

--The NFL is open to looking at ways to improve working conditions for hundreds of cheerleaders.

Two former cheerleaders filed a gender-discrimination complaint and had given the league a Friday deadline to settle for $1 each. Sara Blackwell, the attorney for the cheerleaders who filed claims against the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins wanted NFL lawyers to engage in a "good faith" meeting with at least four cheerleaders with the idea of creating binding rules and regulations for all teams.

Blackwell also wanted to protect current cheerleaders from retaliation and sought assurances that teams currently with cheerleading squads would not be allowed to disband them for at least five years.

-- The Cleveland Browns traded up in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft to select troubled wide receiver Antonio Callaway. The decision was met with more than a few raised eyebrows -- especially for a team looking to change its losing culture.


Callaway was suspended twice at Florida and missed the 2017 season for allegedly using stolen credit card information to fund bookstore accounts.

A year ago, he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and possession of drug equipment. In 2016, he was cleared of sexual assault allegations. His accuser and her witnesses boycotted the hearing because the hearing officer was a Florida football booster.

If those weren't enough red flags, he tested positive for drugs at this year's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

In between workouts Saturday at the Browns' minicamp in Berea, Ohio, Callaway took responsibility for past mistakes.

"I had a diluted sample," Callaway told ESPN of his positive drug test in February. "I didn't intentionally do it, but I take responsibility for my test."

--Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has missed nearly two seasons since suffering a devastating knee injury while with the Minnesota Vikings.

Now with the Jets, Bridgewater is participating in New York's offseason program, but whether he will be healthy enough for the start of OTA practices when they begin May 22 remains in limbo.

Coach Todd Bowles was asked if Bridgewater was running during the offseason workouts.


Bowles would not confirm, but told Newsday, "He's been working out with us."

Even though Bridgewater might be limited during the current workouts, Bowles expects the 25-year-old who is entering his fourth season to be an active participant in the OTAs.

"He's like every other quarterback, I expect him to throw and I expect him to be out there throwing and competing with everybody else," Bowles said.

Bridgewater, 25, suffered major damage to his knee in the Minnesota Vikings' 2016 training camp. He signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Jets in the offseason.

-- After seven NFL seasons, offensive lineman Orlando Franklin is retiring.

The veteran announced via Instagram that it was time for him to step away and be a full-time dad.

Franklin was an imposing second-round pick out of the University of Miami in 2011 by the Broncos. He helped protect Peyton Manning from 2012 through 2014, starting 70 of 71 games.

-- Dallas tight end Jason Witten retired on Thursday after an illustrious 15-year career with the Cowboys, and it didn't take long for 12 of his former teammates to thank the future Hall of Famer for leaving a legacy for them to follow.


In an open letter to ESPN, Sean Lee, Zack Martin, Dak Prescott, Tyrone Crawford, Ezekiel Elliot, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, DeMarcus Lawrence, Jeff Heath, Cole Beasley, Dan Bailey and Byron Jones, recognized the Dallas franchise leader in games played (239), receptions (1,152) and receiving yards (12,448) for all he meant to them and the game.

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