Ten days to Latrobe: Does Ben still bring elite capability? ☕


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Ben Roethlisberger. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

First in a 10-part daily series:

It's often talked about with great athletes: They have "it."

Nobody can really put a finger on what "it" is exactly, but the great athletes are teeming with that innate ability to will their team to victory, even under extremely dire circumstances.

For years, it was unquestioned that Ben Roethlisberger had "it." For a quick reminder of what that looked like, turn on tape of Super Bowl XLIII.

Now 37, Roethlisberger enters the 2019 season -- his 16th -- with perhaps more questions about his leadership and ability than ever before. He'll take the next step in disproving his critics July 25, when the Steelers report to training camp at Saint Vincent College.

Roethlisberger has always had his critics. But the past year has seen them grow even more vociferous.

Roethlisberger is No. 6 on the league's all-time passing yardage list with 56,194 yards. He's seventh on the touchdown passes list with 363. He's won two Super Bowls and been to another.

Yet even during the season last year, there were people questioning his credentials for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Remember this gem from the Saints' Cameron Jordan?

Then, the offseason happened. Or, actually, Week 17 of the 2018 season happened. One week after Jordan questioned Roethlisberger's hall-of-fame credentials, Antonio Brown went AWOL from practice.

That's when things really went sideways.

Brown began a scorched earth policy on Roethlisberger, in particular, raising questions about the quarterback in the national media.

Kevin Colbert fueled the fire with his innocuous answer to a question about Roethlisberger's leadership skills when he said the quarterback has "52 kids" in the team's locker room.

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