Kenny Pickett says no hard feelings toward Ben Roethlisberger

PITTSBURGH -- Kenny Pickett says he doesn't have any hard feelings toward Ben Roethlisberger after the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said he wasn't rooting for the 2022 first-round pick to succeed right off the bat.

"He's honest," Pickett said Tuesday. "He's out front about it, and he's a fan now and he's pulling for us and it was really cool to hear him say that. ... I think we're just going to continue to build on that relationship.

"I'm excited to go into Year 2 with another guy in my corner."

When Roethlisberger recently hosted Pickett on his podcast, "Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger," the retired Steeler admitted to feeling conflicted about the rookie taking over the starting job.

"I'll be completely honest, I'll be super transparent here, and I'm gonna get blasted," Roethlisberger said. "I probably shouldn't say this, but who cares at this point. I wouldn't say that I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail, but when someone comes to replace you, I still feel like I had it, I hope he doesn't come ball out. Because then it's like, Ben who?"

Roethlisberger continued, telling Pickett: "Early on I didn't want you to succeed because you followed me up -- I didn't want it to happen. I think that's probably the selfishness of me, and I feel bad for it."

On the podcast, Pickett was appreciative when Roethlisberger told him that his attitude changed throughout the season, and that now he's a fan of the young quarterback.

Beyond Roethlisberger, Pickett has support throughout the Steelers' organization, including from backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who recently signed a three-year contract with the team. Trubisky cited his relationship with Pickett as a reason he opted to sign with the team through 2025.

"I just wanted to come back because me and Kenny have gotten so close and I just want to help him in any way I can," Trubisky said Tuesday. "We've got a really great quarterback room. We love having Mason [Rudolph] back, too. We're going to have a lot of fun, and we're going to get to work.

"Anything I could be for Kenny, I'm on board: an extra coach, extra eyes on the field, I'm going to be there for him, and he knows that. I think that's also why they wanted to have me back -- to be in that role and help any way I can."