Bettis defends Big Ben against Sanders' leadership comments

Jerome Bettis doesn't think Ben Roethlisberger lacks leadership. (USATSI)
Jerome Bettis doesn't think Ben Roethlisberger lacks leadership. (USATSI)

More NFL: Photos |  Videos & GIFs |  Training Camp updates | Manziel watch

Jerome Bettis has Ben Roethlisberger's back. A day after former Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, now with the Broncos, said that Peyton Manning was a better leader than Big Ben, Bettis offered a defense of his former teammate.

"I don't believe that Ben falls short in the leadership department," Bettis said, via ESPN.com. "You don't win a championship with a lack of leadership."

As for what Sanders said that caught Bettis' attention:

"This is the first time that I had a quarterback that stays every single day after practice, no matter what his accolades," Sanders told KKFM regarding Manning. "He's not one of those guys you gotta go chase down. He's gonna be right at the same spot ready to work every single day."

Bettis' response: Not only were Sanders' remarks off the mark they were "a little disrespectful."

"I think [Sanders] misunderstood what leadership is and he misspoke, and I think it was a little bit of a jab," Bettis continued. "I think if he had a chance, he'd take it back. It's not that Ben doesn't lead. He just leads differently than Peyton does."

During that same radio interview, Sanders added that “I've got so much love for Ben (but) at the same time, I'm not going to lie. I'm happy to be part of this organization and happy that Peyton is my quarterback.”

Sanders took to Twitter later Monday to clarify his remarks.

Bettis played for the Steelers from from 1996 to 2005 and rushed for 10,571 yards and 78 touchdowns during that time. He won a Super Bowl with the team following the 2005 season. And in case you've forgotten, that Super Bowl was played in Detroit, Bettis' hometown.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
CBS Sports Store
NFL Cold Weather Gear
Our Latest Stories
    Bracket Games