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“Blunt” message from Joey Porter sparked change in young Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger tapped out in 2015 due to concussion symptoms and though many believed his decision signaled a change in NFL culture, Mike Florio believes he's the league exception, not the standard.

Remember all those rumors about what a jerk Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was during his early years in Pittsburgh? They apparently were true.

Former Steelers assistant Bruce Arians, whose close relationship with Roethlisberger arguably contributed to the team’s decision to “retire” Arians five years ago, explains in The Quarterback Whisperer that Young Ben was a big problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers -- and that one key moment changed things.

“During the [2005] season Ben often acted immature, as if all the stories that documented the greatness of ‘Big Ben’ had gone to his head,” Arians writes. “He wasn’t signing as many autographs for teammates as he should; some days he would sign, some days he wouldn’t.”

Late in the year, with playoff hopes dwindling, several veterans addressed the team. Linebacker Joey Porter, according to Arians, singled out Roethlisberger with “blunt language,” telling the quarterback that he “needed to be ‘one of us.’” Per Arians, Roethlisberger instantly “became a different person” and “grew up fast.”

Some would argue that the change was neither immediate nor permanent, but the anecdote from Arians confirms that Roethlisberger was once on the Ryan Leaf track and that, to Roethlisberger’s credit, he changed. Eventually if not immediately.