Mr. Rooney was a guest on Steelers Nation Radio and had this to say when asked about his quarterback:
How did the process go in terms of signing Ben to a new deal?
“I think it was one of those situations that it was clear from start to finish that both sides wanted to get something done. And so, even though these days signing a top tier quarterback is not easy, and there are a lot of factors that weigh into it from both sides, like I say it was clear from the beginning that both sides wanted to get this done. I felt confident the whole way along that we would get something done. It’s good timing – Ben and I even talked about wanting to get it done and have that behind him as we head into the spring practices and allow him to really focus on getting ready for the 2019 season.”
Does he want Ben to do anything differently this upcoming season?
“No. I think Ben needs to be Ben. I think he had a great year last year in terms of leading the league in passing yardage. I think every player on the roster hopefully comes into the season thinking what I can do to be better this year, and I think Ben looks at it that way as well. In terms of what he brings to the team, I think his track record speaks for itself. Obviously, I don’t think we’ve seen decline in his play. He’s a little different quarterback than he was 15 years ago, but he’s a top tier quarterback. With him on the field, you feel like you can compete with anybody in the league on any given Sunday.”
When asked to elaborate on his “Ben needs to be Ben” statement:
“When you look at his performance over the last few years, we’ve been competitive with the best teams in the league, even last year when we didn’t make the playoffs. We were on the field with the best teams in the league there at the end of the season, and we went toe-to-toe with them. Won a game against the Patriots, barely lost a game against the Saints. That’s why I say we feel we can compete with anybody in the league when Ben’s at the helm.”
You can listen to Mr. Rooney’s full interview here.