"I lacked in leadership," he told reporters at organized team activities, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "Because that's my job as the leader of this team, to get us to the playoffs. I'm gonna need to focus and refocus my energy and time on, how can I be a better leader to get us back to the playoffs?"
The admission came a day after Roethlisberger publicly apologized to former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown for using the media to criticize him during the season.
A frayed relationship between Roethlisberger and Brown led the latter to request a trade after the 2018 campaign. Roethlisberger said he tried to mend fences with Brown but wasn't able to connect with him.
"It was hard to process it, because I never knew anything," he said of the wideout's exit. "Last time we spoke was on Thursday before the last game. We hugged. We had a great talk. Everything was good. I knew nothing. So, it was hard for me to know anything. Then I heard from a third party there were issues. I reached out to him many times, sent him texts, sent him calls - this is all before the season was over. Never heard back. So I could never really find out what was going on.
"For me, that's why it was so confusing. I didn't know where it came from. ... I never really saw any of it coming. I would have loved to have had the chance to talk to him. That's why I said yesterday, whatever I did to offend him, I apologize for it. I tried to do that in person, talk to him. He wouldn't allow me to."
Roethlisberger led the league in passing last year, but the mercurial Steelers went 9-6-1 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2013. Pittsburgh suffered from internal discord throughout the season, with Roethlisberger, Brown, and Le'Veon Bell all drawing attention to themselves for various reasons.
In an attempt to develop a tighter-knit locker room in 2019, Roethlisberger noted he's making a greater effort to get to know his teammates, recently taking a group his lake house.
"You just have to focus on the guys that are here and make sure they are good," he said. "Everyone I've talked to is good with me. ... We've been attacked from all angles this year, this offseason. We just need to stick together and have each other's backs."