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‘I was almost fearful’: Steelers icon Ben Roethlisberger calls out past Bengals over ‘dirty’ play

Ben Roethlisberger

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals get to renew one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL when they battle each other on Sunday night. This feud has a long and rich history, and Steelers icon Ben Roethlisberger is well aware of the same.

Big Ben recently launched his own podcast, Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger, and there was no better way to kick off his second episode by discussing the aforementioned rivalry. For his part, however, Roethlisberger dropped a major truth bomb about literally having fear in his heart whenever he had to face the Bengals (h/t Justin McGonigle of Steelers Nation):

“I just always hated playing in Cincinnati because when you played Baltimore you knew it was going to be a physical game, but it was going to be physical in the sense that two teams were going out and were going to pound and grind. Clean, just physical,” Roethlisberger said. “When you played Cincinnati during a stretch, there was a stretch of games there or years there where you played them you almost didn’t want to play. I’ll be honest there were times when I was fearful to play because I was going to get hurt because of something dirty, something cheap, something whatever. So, that something always made it interesting. So now we’re going in there thinking lets find a way to win this thing and get out of here. Saying let’s get this win and go home.“

The Steelers also have quite a fierce rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens, but as Big Ben described above, it was a far cry from the beef they had against Cincinnati. Roethlisberger took a shot at the past Bengals teams he faced, calling them out for their “dirty” and “cheap” ways. Then again, he did seem to admit that all this gave the Steelers a bit more motivation coming in.

It will be interesting to see what type of game we get on Sunday as the Steelers and the Bengals open their respective campaigns. You can be sure, however, that it will not be lacking in intensity.