Great news for Pittsburgh Steelers fans: Despite a nameless, faceless teammate calling Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley's 2012 season "awful," and the follow-up observations by Larry Foote, Ryan Clark and Antonio Brown that the usually close-knit locker room might've cracked under the weight of a disappointing 8-8 campaign, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has announced that there is nothing to see here.
"For anybody to say there are locker room issues or leadership issues are completely off base," Roethlisberger said Thursday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette. "I believe that's the frustration. I believe that it's frustration of last year, I honestly do."
There's probably some truth to that. Foote, who has been with the team since 2002 (save one forgettable year in Detroit in '09), suggested that a coach -- not a player -- might have made the "awful" comments regarding Woodley, presumably to motivate the linebacker to get in shape this offseason.
Roethlisberger, who hasn't spoken to the media since before the Super Bowl, was just getting started.
"Obviously, last year was frustrating for all of us, and when you're frustrated and the season doesn't go the way you want it to and things don't go the way you want them to, things are said. I know all too well, after the Dallas game I was frustrated and said some things.
"The important thing to know is, there are no issues in our locker room," Roethlisberger continued. "There are no issues with LaMarr. There are no issues on our team.
"The big thing for us is to move forward. Last year was last year, it was 8-8. We're not happy about it. There are frustrations, but you know what? We're done with it. We're moving forward and we're moving into this year ... with whoever's here, we're looking to move forward. And we know Woodley's going to be here and we know Woodley's going to be ready to go as we all are going to be."
Which brings us back to something we've said countless times before: Winning fixes everything. And when you're not winning, there's more time to complain. Remember that midseason near-mutiny Ravens coach John Harbaugh had on his hands?
You know why? Because the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
"I want it to be known there is no locker room issue, there is no leadership issue," Big Ben reiterated. "Even if guys say it out of frustration, they're trying to find something to say. I think it's important to know we all have each other's back.
"I've been around a lot of the guys, I've seen a lot of the guys, there are no issues. It's about moving forward, it's not harping on guys working out from last year. Nobody cares about last year anymore. We've talked about last year, we've put it in our rear-view mirror, now it's about moving forward."
So there's nothing to see here. And even if there is, guess what? If the Steelers go 12-4 next season and make a deep playoff run, nobody will care. That's how winning works.