Ben Roethlisberger’s return this season wasn’t guaranteed, and when he did come back for another season he made it clear he wasn’t committing to anything beyond that.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a fine season, Roethlisberger has played well and his possible retirement hasn’t been much of an issue. And on Wednesday, Roethslisberger seemed to say he planned to return, saying he didn’t think this week’s divisional playoff against the Jacksonville Jaguars would be his last home game.
“I don’t think it is but I’m not thinking about that right now,” Roethlisberger said, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I’m going to play this one and give it everything I have.”
Perhaps Roethlisberger is just planning on a Tennessee Titans upset of the New England Patriots, which would lead the way for the Steelers to host an AFC championship game. Joking aside, those comments are the clearest indication to date that Roethsliberger will be back for another season.
Strangely enough, the last time the Steelers played the Jaguars Roethlisberger looked closer to retirement than ever. He threw five touchdowns and said afterward he questioned whether he still had it. Even if that was a non-serious reply, it was a real question. Roethlisberger rebounded very well after that, however, and had another strong season. If Roethlisberger were to retire, it wouldn’t be because he can’t play at a high level anymore.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told ESPN’s Fowler he thought Roethlisberger’s retirement talk came after taking some big hits the last few years, and he thinks his friend will be back for another season.
“He came out and had a great year and made a Pro Bowl,” Pouncey said. “He’d he crazy to walk away.”
At the moment, it seems Roethlisberger will return. Perhaps a Super Bowl championship would nudge him toward going out on top, and the Steelers obviously have a good shot of winning a title. Steelers fans would probably make that deal right now.
At some point Roethslisberger will walk away and likely head to the Hall of Fame, and it will start a difficult reset for the Steelers at quarterback. It just doesn’t seem like he’ll be stepping away after this season. But we’ll see.
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