Ben Roethlisberger quickly hinted a retirement last offseason, but for now, he has put that talk to rest.
Ben Roethlisberger has made his contribution to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ drama, flirting with retirement last offseason and questioning (sarcastically?) if he had it anymore following a Week 5 loss the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a much better performance during Sunday’s Divisional Round loss to the Jaguars, Roethlisberger confirmed he’ll play next season.
The Steelers’ window to win a Super Bowl as currently constructed is closing fast, but it should last as long as Roethlisberger is under center. According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Big Ben” has told teammates he wants to play three more seasons.
Roethlisberger will turn 36 in March, has two more years left on his contract at a $12 million base salary and a $23.2 million salary cap hit each year. His performance over his final eight games this year (including playoffs), with a 23: 6 TD: INT ratio and six games with more than 280 passing yards, showed he has plenty left in the tank.
Something major that may be spurring Roethlisberger’s willingness to play three more seasons is the looming departure of offensive coordinator Todd Haley. The two have always seemed to have a contentious relationship, and things reached a new point this year. Roethlisberger reportedly wanted quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner on the field as a “buffer” between him and Haley during games, and that move was made in the middle of the season.
That kind of disconnect between a quarterback and the play caller can’t exist, and it had to be a factor in the botched situation at the end of a Week 15 loss to the Patriots this year. Roethlisberger having the leeway, as an accomplished veteran quarterback, to run the show and call plays in those situations should go without saying. It’s easy to see Roethlisberger wanting more freedom, and Haley being against that in some sort of power struggle.
Roethlisberger is unofficially committed to playing a few more years. So at least in theory, there will be no Brett Favre and the Packers “will he? or won’t he? retire” drama in Pittsburgh every offseason.