Former Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Had Savage Response for Being Passed Over by Browns in 2004 Draft

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to determine that the Cleveland Browns botched the 2004 NFL Draft when they passed on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Browns instead went with a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end out of Miami named Kellen Winslow. And while Winslow had some nice moments in Cleveland — including a 1,000-yard receiving campaign in 2007 — he was no Roethlisberger. Speaking of that guy, well, he slid a bit in the draft before being selected with the 12th overall pick.

And wouldn’t you know it, it was the Browns’ AFC North division rival Pittsburgh Steelers who snagged Roethlisberger. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I thought for sure I’d have a chance to go there [Cleveland],” Roethlisberger recently said on the Footbahlin’ podcast, via Steelers Depot. “Glad I didn’t! I thought I was and when they didn’t, I was like really? I’m [from] Ohio and you have a chance to take me, and you didn’t? Alright, I’ll beat you thirty-something times.”

Roethlisberger finished his 18-year career with a 26-2-1 mark and 43 touchdowns against Cleveland. While he went onto win two Super Bowls in the “Steel City,” the Browns made just once playoff appearance (2020).

Ben Roethlisberger Made Browns Pay for Nearly Two Decades

Perhaps the most telling statistic of ’em all, is that Roethlisberger was at one point the record-holder for most wins at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. Mind you, he only played once a season in the stadium. Roethlisberger racked up eleven wins at FirstEnergy — only topped by Baker Mayfield, who finally surpassed him in 2020.

“Yes, I was at one point the most-winning quarterback at the Cleveland Browns stadium,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s a pretty cool feat, might put that on my wall.”