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Ryan Clark says Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is ‘not a natural leader’

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, Ryan Clark

Even after the departures of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger still can’t escape criticism for what many former teammates say is the team’s preferential treatment of its franchise quarterback.

Ryan Clark is the latest former Steelers players to question the leadership style of Roethlisberger, shedding light on the two-time Super Bowl winner’s problematic mindset during Monday’s episode of “Get Up!” on ESPN via Steelers Depot.

“He’s not a natural leader. Caring about people above himself is not something that comes easy to him. And so it’s something he’s had to work on,” Clark said of Roethlisberger, per Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot. “We had a players only meeting my first year about Ben. Like the legit reason that the meeting was called was to talk about Ben and the way that he related to the team. And so he had to work on those things.”

Roethlisberger came under new fire last week when former Pittsburgh running back Josh Harris claimed that he intentionally fumbled the ball in the 2014 season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals as a means of protest against offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Harris alleged that Roethlisberger fumbled because he was unhappy that Haley had called a running play rather than a kneel-down with the game in hand late in the fourth quarter.

Clark, for his part, pushed back on that assertion, saying it’s “hard for me to believe” Roethlisberger would purposely fumble the football in such a scenario.

Last month, while waiting for the Steelers to honor his trade request, Brown took some implicit parting shots at his former quarterback on social media. After a Pittsburgh fan expressed support for Brown on Twitter by calling out fan hypocrisy for largely ignoring two accusations of sexual assault against Roethlisberger, the six-time Pro Bowler “liked” the tweets in question.

Just a few days later, general manager Kevin Colbert hardly deflected attention away from those questioning Roethlisberger, saying at a press conference that his status with the team is difficult because “he’s got 52 kids under him, quite honestly.”