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Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger will be bring his ‘A-game’ in post-Antonio Brown era

Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown

Ben Roethlisberger is fully aware of not just how much easier the presence of Antonio Brown made the game on him, but also the pair’s historical standing among other elite quarterback-receiver tandems. While the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback understands the challenges facing he and his team this season without his longtime favorite target, ,too, Roethlisberger nevertheless seems confident he and the Pittsburgh Steelers will overcome them.

“It will be different,” he said of playing without Brown,” per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I think things we did together were some things that no one’s really ever really done. Peyton [Manning] and Marvin [Harrison], maybe. In the last few years we did it, it was something special. It’s going to be hard to make up for that. But I’m going to do my best to still bring my A-game and I know other guys are ready to step up and bring everything they can to the table.”

The Steelers traded Brown to the Oakland Raiders in March exchange for third and fifth-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. He’d previously demanded a trade, insisting that his desire to move on from Pittsburgh had nothing to do with the team’s hesitance to give him a new contract. The 30-year-old signed a three-year, $54.1 million deal with the Raiders that includes $30 million of guaranteed money shortly after the trade.

Roethlisberger, who frequently clashed with Brown during their final season together, is quietly coming off another standout season, one in which he led the NFL in passing yards. He might be hard-pressed to put up similar numbers this season without Brown, but should nevertheless remain among the NFL’s most productive quarterbacks given both his ageless skill set and the expected growth of budding superstar receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.