Terry Bradshaw Bashes Ben Roethlisberger, Other NFL Stars
In a wide-ranging interview with The Shreveport Times, Bradshaw ripped Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his alleged off-field conduct, and didn't mince words when speaking about other high-profile players in the NFL.
Roethisberger, who leads Bradshaw's former team, was initially suspended six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy, but the suspension was shortened to four games after he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday.
"Going to bars -- treating women like that; oh my God," Bradshaw said of Roethlisberger in the story. "I pray they don't cut (his NFL suspension) to four games. I hope they leave it at six. There is no excuse for that. The egos get out of hand."
Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student following a night of drinking in a Milledgeville, Ga., bar on March 5. The Steelers star was not charged by Georgia authorities, but he was suspended and ordered by Goodell to undergo an extensive evaluation.
Bradshaw, who turned 62 Thursday, believes certain players in the NFL lack modesty and respect in the way they conduct themselves.
"(Today's athletes) put a little more value in who they are because they are special athletes," Bradshaw said. "Really what they are is a human being."
The story also noted how Bradshaw's four Super Bowl rings don't seem to carry as much respect among many of today's NFL stars.
"They (younger players) need you going up, but then when they get there, they're rude to you," Bradshaw said. "I get treated like -- you wouldn't believe the way some of these stars treat me."
Bradshaw singled out players like Miami Dolphins defensive end Kendall Langford, who spent an hour after a recent practice not taking part in additional workouts, but instead looking for a $50,000 earring that he lost during practice.
"I hope they never find it -- $50,000?" Bradshaw said. "Go tell that to somebody that can't pay for his kid's education or can't get them into a hospital room and get them treated properly. Here is a guy wearing a $50,000 earring to practice. I hope they stomped on it and I hope he never found it."
Bradshaw singled out several other players and topics, as well:
• Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre: "He's a great player -- never seen anything like it." But as for the drama caused by Favre's retirement threats the last two years, Bradshaw added: "I don't know who that guy is. You kiss his a** long enough, that's what happens."
• Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning: "Once they start becoming stars -- Favre, Manning -- it's hard to get to them. Before that, you can get to them, but then they are protected and you lose your contacts. You'll never see them here giving speeches."
• Interviewing today's athletes is all but a joke: "If you ask tough questions, they aren't going to answer them. That's why interviews are so sorry. You just can't get to them."
• On HBO's reality series "Hard Knocks" on the New York Jets and the often foul mouth of coach Rex Ryan: "I don't think the show is a good deal for the NFL. But Ryan feeds on that stuff. He likes that -- so be it. I'm kind of like (Tom) Brady, well, fine, whatever. He doesn't play; easy for him to shoot his mouth. He doesn't make a tackle; he doesn't run the ball; he doesn't make a catch or throw the ball.
"Unfortunately, I don't think his players are quite as strong-minded as he is. He's putting a lot of pressure on his young quarterback. If they can't run the football, they are going to have to throw it and they can't pass protect. He'll shut up real quick. I don't like guys like that. I'm tired of the earrings, the hair down to the a** -- I'm tired of a lot of stuff."
• Despite the harsh criticism, Bradshaw doesn't think everyone in the league is setting a bad example -- "it's not even close to a majority of them."
He had great praise for Saints quarterback Drew Brees as an example for his peers both on and off the field.
"He's Joe Montana -- the perfect height and poised beyond his size," Bradshaw said. "He's a great guy. He's stayed the same. I can get in touch with Drew tonight. If he doesn't answer his phone, he'll call me back. I appreciate that."
Bradshaw surprised some, though, with his comments about his former team. While the Shreveport native and Louisiana Tech standout said he was "eternally grateful" for his time in Pittsburgh, he wishes he could have accomplished the same feat closer to home.
"I would do it all over again: I wish I didn't have to play for Pittsburgh. I wish I could have played down here and won some Super Bowls -- how cool would that have been?" he said. "Then I wouldn't have to go around making speeches, either. In a perfect world, how about being able to stay in my home state and do all that for my home state? That would have been the greatest gift ever."
Information from The Shreveport Times and The Associated Press was used in this report.