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The Browns had a chance to draft Ben Roethlisberger out of Miami of Ohio in 2004, but Butch Davis decided to select tight end Kellen Winslow II at sixth overall instead. Davis passed on Roethlisberger, who's from Findlay, Ohio, and went with Winslow because he used to coach at Miami.
Roethlisberger has made the Browns pay ever since, posting a a career record of 26-3-1. Meanwhile, Winslow was an absolute bust and the Browns have been quarterback deprived ever since they re-entered the league in 1999.
Roethlisberger was on the WDVE Morning Show on Friday and was asked if the Browns passing on him provided extra motivation.
"A little bit. As I got older it got a little less," Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger also shared an interesting story of how he and his wife Ashley recently explained to their 9-year-old son Benjamin the story of the Browns passing on him. Roethlisberger's son asked why and he responded, "I don't know son, but I'm glad they did."
Steel City Star on Twitter recently shared an article by Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon Journal from April of 2004 where he claimed that the Browns should not draft Roethlisberger.
Pluto said that the Browns were in a win-now mode, and that offensive tackle Robert Gallery should be the pick. Like Winslow, Gallery was a bust, too. For some reason, Davis thought building the team around quarterback Jeff Garcia was a good idea. ww
A Browns fan named Scott Forman was quoted in the article saying, “I fear the Browns will pass up on Ben....and let him go to the Steelers.”
Longtime Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot also said on 93.7 The Fan on Monday that former Browns offensive coordinator and interim head coach Terry Robiskie told her the team’s talent evaluators felt at the time that Big Ben had “heavy legs” and would struggle playing behind their offensive line. The Browns couldn't have been more wrong, as Roethlisberger made a living off being mobile and extending plays.
The Browns passing on Roethlisberger was an all-time miss. He was right in the Browns' own backyard, too. How could the Browns mess this up? Like Roethlisberger, Steelers fans are just glad they did.