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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Latest On Ben Roethlisberger’s Final Season, Retirement Decision

By the time Ben Roethlisberger officially retired, it had long been expected that he would hang up his cleats at the end of the 2021 season. The future Hall of Famer recently spoke about his final campaign, including the relatively lukewarm support he received from inside the organization to remain for one more year. 

When speaking to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the (now) 40-year-old recounted the feeling amongst the franchise’s power brokers regarding the possibility of him playing an 18th season with the team. A compromise allowed him to take a pay cut and return in a way which didn’t compromise the Steelers’ cap situation.

“It was mostly [former GM] Kevin [Colbert]” Roethlisberger said. “He was ready to move on. I think [head coach] Mike [Tomlin] was a little ready to move on, but I think he was OK with me coming back. I think [owner] Mr. [Art] Rooney really wanted me to come back last year to play.” 

With the six-time Pro Bowler at the helm, Pittsburgh qualified for the postseason and – as was the case throughout the entirety of Roethlisberger’s career – avoided a losing record. His level of play, not surprisingly, continued to drop off (with a QBR of 35.6, the second-lowest total of his career), as it had for years. Having gone through one more year, though, he is clearly at peace with his decision and the team’s somewhat unexpected level of success in 2021.

“I thought I went out on my terms. I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did… But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest. My arm feels like I still could go out and play. I’m pretty confident I could still play… [But] I’m fine with where I’m at with everything.”

The Steelers have moved on to Mitch Trubisky in the short term at the QB position, drafting Kenny Pickett as, they hope, a successor for Roethlisberger down the road. While it remains to be seen how much success either has with the franchise, their parting of ways with a team icon can be considered amicable, all things considered.



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