Why Browns Refused To Draft Ben Roethlisberger In 2004

Why Browns Refused To Draft Ben Roethlisberger In 2004

Ben Roethlisberger closed out his storied NFL career this past week doing what he has always done best: beating the Cleveland Browns.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Cleveland 26-14 on Monday night, it ensured that Roethlisberger would walk away from the game with an incredible 26-3-1 record against his divisional rivals.

Roethlisberger thoroughly and totally dominated the Browns over the span of nearly two decades.

But it didn’t have to be this way.

Back in 2004, it could have been the Browns who took Roethlisberger. They had the No. 6 pick that year, whereas Pittsburgh was drafting at No. 11.

Rather than take Roethlisberger, Cleveland opted to select Kellen Winslow II.

Why? The answer to that question emerged this week.

NFL insider Mary Kay Cabot appeared on “The Fan Morning Show” on 93.7 The Fan and revealed the real reason the Browns refused to take Roethlisberger.

“They did not think that he would survive too long behind their offensive line, which of course is short-sighted thinking,” Cabot said.

“You cannot evaluate a quarterback (based on) what your current offensive line looks like. They had Pete Garcia as their GM at that point. He had come from (the University of Miami) with Butch Davis. They didn’t have a real, longtime, strong NFL GM in place. Had they had one, they may have taken — and should have taken — Ben Roethlisberger at No. 6 overall.”

While no one can be faulted for questioning Roethlisberger’s mobility, this will still go down as an all-time bad player assessment.

Obviously it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows with Roethlisberger throughout his NFL career. He had issues with teammates, conditioning woes and some off-the-field troubles that marred him in the eyes of many.

That said – Steelers legends agree that he is the best quarterback in franchise history.

Paige Spiranac’s two-word sayonara to Roethlisberger this week actually perfectly encapsulated how most folks feel about him. He wasn’t the greatest quarterback of all time, but he accomplished a lot more than anyone thought he would. And he sure as heck accomplished a lot more all on his own than the Browns have over the entirety of his career.

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Anthony Amador

A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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