DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Want a short path to an obvious answer on why the Browns have perennially struggled while the Steelers have been a model of success? They hit on a quarterback, and the Browns didn't.
And that quarterback, 13 years after coming out of Miami of Ohio in his home state, reflected on what might have been on Wednesday.
"I thought I was going to go to the Browns (in the 2004 NFL Draft)," Roethlisberger told reporters during a conference call. "I am kind of over that, but for me, this is AFC North football. Like I said, it is the Browns. This is a huge rivalry for us."
Instead, the Browns drafted tight end Kellen Winslow with the 6th overall pick, and Roethlisberger went to the Steelers five picks later. A lot has happened since, including two Super Bowl titles for Roethlisberger, and too many quarterbacks to count for the Browns.
Roethlisberger was asked if he could name them all.
"No chance," the Steelers quarterback said with a laugh. "Wow, well, you know a buddy of mine who was here, (former Browns QB and Steelers QB) Bruce Gradkowski was over there. Goodness gracious, (QB Josh) McCown and RGIII (QB Robert Griffin III) recently and (former Browns QB and Redskins QB) Colt McCoy. There have been a whole bunch of them that I have faced. I would love to look at the numbers of which quarterback I actually played the most because I feel like it was almost a different one every time."
In 22 games against the Browns, Roethlisberger has squared off against 12 different quarterbacks. On Sunday, he'll meet yet another new face, Cody Kessler.
Safe to say Roethlisberger actually feels bad for the Browns, and their fans, at this point?
"Yes and no," he said. "I obviously have a lot of friends there. I grew up not far from there. I know all about that town, and I know how passionate they are about their sports. I tell guys on this team that don't know any better, and I could be completely wrong but I think I am pretty accurate when I say -- they talk about how Cleveland is a Cavs town and this and that -- I say, 'I promise you that the Browns still rule in Cleveland and I think the Indians are second.' I understand that when it comes to wins, obviously, the Indians going to the World Series this year, the Cavs winning last year, like that means a lot to the city, but the city -- in my opinion and the people I talk to and know -- would do anything for a Browns Super Bowl. I know that they are still passionate so in that sense. I know the weather is supposed to be bad, but I expect there to be a great crowd just because it is. I know the Browns do not have a good record, we do not have a good record, but just the love that the fans have. I have a lot of respect for the fans because of their passion for their team."
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