Aug 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) reacts against the New York Giants during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger says Emmanuel Sanders comment 'hurt'

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders joined the Denver Broncos this season, and gets to work with one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in Peyton Manning. With the Steelers he played with two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but Sanders said it was clear that Manning was the better leader between the two.

“I feel like Peyton is a far better leader, in terms of staying after practice, catching balls, wanting guys to get on the same page with him, things of that sort,” Sanders said. “This is the first time that I’ve had a quarterback that every single day after practice — no matter what his accolades, NFL MVP, Super Bowl ring — he keeps guys like me and [rookie receiver Cody] Latimer after practice. . . . He’s not one of those guys you’ve got to chase down. He’s going to be right in the same spot, ready to work, every single day. I just feel like that’s a difference from a mental standpoint.”

Well those words got back to Roethlisberger of course, and he isn’t necessarily a fan of them and said they hurt.

“Whether he meant it or not, it hurt in a sense that I tried so hard to keep him here last year and was always supporting him. When he was down in practice, I always talked to him. When he had a baby, I was trying to help him,” Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Part of that hurt could stem from the fact that Sanders didn’t reach out to Roethlisberger personally while trying to clarify what he meant.

“He’s going to say whatever he can about the quarterback he is with,” Roethlisberger said. “I was more disappointed he didn’t reach out to me. I know he told some other guys: ‘You know I love Ben, I didn’t mean it like that.’ I wish he would have reached out to me and just say that and I would have been fine with it.”

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