Report: Roethlisberger, Haley finally meet

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
2:10
AM ET
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley have finally met, multiple sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Yes, the most anticipated meeting of the NFL offseason -- I'm calling it the Steel City Summit -- reportedly did occur, although not much is known about it. The Post-Gazette reported that Roethlisberger and Haley met, sat down and talked "recently" and couldn't say definitively whether it was Tuesday or not.

But the details aren't important. The fact that the two most important people involved with the Steelers offense spoke definitely is important. Very important.

You can laugh about the drama and say that this issue has been overblown. What can't be overstated is Roethlisberger and Haley need to establish a working relationship, and the sooner the better for the Steelers. This isn't to say that Haley and Roethlisberger need to be buddies and grab lunch at Primanti Brothers each week. But, in order for the Steelers' offense to click, the quarterback and the offensive coordinator need to be familiar with one another.

This first step is a big one because you know it was big for Roethlisberger. He was close with former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and wasn't happy when the Steelers decided not to renew his contract. He spoke out about his apprehension to getting yelled at, something that Haley is known to do. And he had been described as being "discouraged" by the lack of communication with Haley during his first two weeks as coordinator.

After Roethlisberger worked closely with Arians for five years, you could sense that he was starting to get concerned over all of the unknowns that came with the change.

"I've heard a lot of things [about Haley] and I'm looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion," Roethlisberger said last week.

As the Post-Gazette pointed out, coaches and players can't discuss strategy or playbooks until April 16 under the new collective bargaining agreement rules. Even if the rules didn't exist, no one expects Roethlisberger and Haley to break down route combinations or three-step drops in February.

Before they can get to that point about talking about the vision of the offense, Roethlisberger and Haley had to sit down face-to-face first. The drama is over, but the challenge of installing a new offense still lies ahead.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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