Generally speaking, athletes from all sports are usually pretty generous with their time and money particularly around the holidays. But it is also nice when teammates do something nice for each other, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a habit of taking care of one another, particularly Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger has had a pretty good year this season, currently leading the NFL in passing yards (326 yards per game) and is second in total QBR (76.0). He is completing 68.1 (295-for-433) percent of his passes and has 18 touchdown passes, though he also has thrown 14 interceptions in 11 games. The 33-year old has also been sacked only 20 times or 1.8 times a game, which is among the lowest ratio of his career.
ESPN reported that Roethlisberger thanked each of his offensive linemen by gifting them individual platinum series watches from Swiss manufacturer Omega.
"It's a great Christmas, especially for me, getting that luxury watch from Big Ben," right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who called the silver watch that he received "sick," said. "We take care of him and he's always done a good job taking care of his line. That's why we like to go to battle for him every week."
As Gilbert indicated, this isn't the first time Roethlisberger's has done something for his O-Linemen, whether it is buying dinner or purchasing watches. Last year, Roethlisberger had a tailor visit the Steelers facility and had each lineman fitted for a car coat, as well as slacks and dress shoes. There were diamond cuff links one year. Another year, he had a special basket made for each player, with customized robes, towels, wines and various other presents.
By all accounts Roethlisberger is a great teammate but according to Bleacher Report that has not always been the case.
"I'd be the first to admit I wasn't a good teammate early in my career," Roethlisberger said.
Just this spring, Roethlisberger brought Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and running back LeVeon Bell on a four-day excursion to Georgia, where they stayed at Roethlisberger's Greensboro lake house and trained at the University of Georgia.
While in Georgia, the players ate breakfast daily at the Waffle House, spent the afternoon on the water, went on private jet rides, and had catered meals – Roethlisberger picked up the entire tab.
Roethlsberger has done many other good things, for example donating $1 million to his alma Mater (Miami University), while his foundation has awarded grants to several police departments, and he has spent a lot of time with lots of Pittsburgh area kids.
While the gifts are nice, the biggest gift Roethlisberger can give to his teammates this year is a playoff appearance. In order for Pittsburgh (9-6) to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year, the Steelers must defeat the Cleveland Browns and have the Buffalo Bills get a victory over the New York Jets.
Pittsburgh had the inside tract to one of the AFC's wild card spots last week, but the Steelers stumbled against the Baltimore Ravens, losing 20-17.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 31, 2015Pittsburgh had the inside tract on one of the AFC's wild card spots last week but the Steelers stumbled against the Baltimore Ravens, losing 20-17. Pittsburgh won its earlier meeting with Cleveland this year (30-9) and has defeated the Browns six straight times – the Steelers are 26-4 against their rivals division rivals from the North.
Pittsburgh had the inside tract to one of the AFC's wild card spots last week but the Steelers stumbled against the Baltimore Ravens, losing 20-17. Pittsburgh won its earlier meeting with Cleveland this year (30-9) and has defeated the Browns six straight times – the Steelers are 26-4 against their division rivals from the North.
Roethlisberger is not the only Steeler to present teammates with gifts this holiday season. Defensive end Cameron Heyward, known as one of the team's most generous players, got the entire team Apple watches, and running back DeAngelo Williams constantly takes care of the line with free meals and gift cards. Williams has 899 rushing yards despite not being the starter the entire year.
"What he's done is remarkable," Gilbert said. "We've been aiming for (1,000) ever since [he] got the starting role."
Pittsburgh ranks 10th in the NFL in rushing.
[photo by Gail Burton/Associated Press, Diamond Images/Getty.]