Ben Roethlisberger may have tipped his hand on his NFL future. On Thursday, the Steelers quarterback gave his first public acknowledgment that he may be walking away from the game of football by electing to retire following the 2021 season. Roethlisberger said that Monday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns could very well be his final game at Heinz Field.
“I don’t ever speak in definites or guarantees. That’s just not what I’ve ever done or who I am,” said Roethlisberger. “But looking at the bigger picture, I would say that all signs are pointing that this could be it.”
The Steelers are set to finish out the regular season on the road in Baltimore in Week 18. If they were to find themselves in the playoffs with a late-season rally, they would do so likely as the final wild-card entry, which would mean they’d be on the road throughout their postseason run. So, if Roethlisberger were to call it a career at the end of this season, Monday night’s game against the Browns would likely be the final time the Pittsburgh faithful would get see their quarterback, who led them to two Super Bowl titles over his 18-year career, in his home stadium.
Roethlisberger went on to note that the emotions of this possibly being the end of the road for him in Pittsburgh have started to kick in, but also said that he’d be able to put those on the back burner and focus on the task at hand, which is the Browns.
Rumors that this could be Roethlisberger’s final season have been around for quite some time. Last offseason, he restructured his contract to remain with the Steelers for one more season, but is not contractually linked to the organization beyond 2021.
“I’ve always been one that has fulfilled my obligation to the team with contracts,” Roethlisberger said Thursday. “I don’t have a contract next season, so I guess the writing was on the wall from [the front office], but kind of all of us together. I wouldn’t say that I have my mind made up by any means, but I have my mind made up that this season I was going to give it everything I have to try and win a Super Bowl.”
Roethlisberger has spent his entire career with the Steelers dating back to when the organization drafted him with the No. 11 overall pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Currently, he is the Steelers’ all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns