Monday, November 16, 2015

Turning back the clock on Big Ben

As Cleveland Browns fans mourned another lost week end to the Steelers, Bill Hershey, a former Beacon Journal colleågue, recalled an earlier piece in Sports Illustrated  that told of Ben Rothlisberger's youthful rise to super-stardom while  playing  at Findlay High School his senior year.  I offer it to Browns fans not as a gloating Steelers fan (that would be a cheap gloat  these days!)  but rather as a vignette from an earlier day when Big Ben didn't get to start as a quarterback until his senior year. Notice how he took advantage of that opportunity to throw for a record 4041 yards and 54 touchdowns. (Cliff Hite, his high school coach at the time, is today a Republican state senator from Findlay.)

Here's the word from Hershey:
At Findlay High School, Rothlisberger was  captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams.  He did not play quarterback until his senior year, giving way to the coach's son, Ryan Hite.  Instead, Roethlisberger played wide receiver because as Coach Cliff Hite  explained to the Toledo Blade, "My son  throwing to Ben was a better combination" He said the reason for passing over Ben as the QB could be simply explained:  "I'm a nationally known knucklehead."
At the same time, Ryan Hite was a talented athlete, too. As far as knuckleheads go, it's a serviceable word for the Browns front office,  which didn't see the point of drafting Big Ben.

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