Rivers gets to watch Ben play

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

The smarter bet would have been that Big Ben would have been closer to a bust rather than Philip Rivers.

But a year and a bit after their NFL careers began, the opposite is true.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers meet on Monday night, Rivers will be on the sidelines backing up Drew Brees.

Ben Roethlisberger, meanwhile, will be leading the Steelers in search of his 17th career win against just two losses.

"Some people get lucky," said Roethlisberger, who replaced Tommy Maddox in Week 2 of his rookie season then led the Steelers to the AFC Championship.

"I was lucky to be a part of a great organization and a great situation and things happened to work out for me."

It was a mix of luck and circumstance that resulted in Roethlisberger's rise and Rivers' holding pattern.

Rivers, the other principal in the draft-day trade that sent Eli Manning from the Chargers to the Giants, was expected to be the quarterback of the future for San Diego. Instead, he watched as Brees rejuvenated his career and a turnaround, playoff-bound season for the Chargers.

While he still is expected to be an NFL star, his patience is being tested.

Roethlisberger, who was selected seven spots behind Rivers in the draft (11th overall and fourth, respectively), will make his Monday Night Football debut in California, while Rivers is awaiting his first career start.

THEMS FIGHTIN' WORDS

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wasn't impressed with suggestions from Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer that New England's dynasty may be in its dying days.

Brady was reacting to comments by Schottenheimer suggesting that injuries and personnel turnover may be too much for the two-time defending champs to overcome.

A little testy, Brady had a final shot for Schottenheimer, whose comments came after San Diego's 41-17 win in Foxboro this past Sunday.

"I just assumed you talked about your own team," Brady said. "He has no business talking about our team. We let our players talk about our team.

"The only thing we ever do is give respect to other teams because that's what they deserve."


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