Ben Roethlisberger did not formally retire following the Steelers’ 42-21 loss to the Chiefs in Sunday night’s AFC wild card round. But the 18-year veteran all but confirmed that he has played his final down as Pittsburgh’s quarterback.
A somber Roethlisberger spoke openly about his career shortly after completing his 272nd NFL game and 23rd playoff game. Roethlisberger threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns in what was likely the final game of his sure-fire Hall of Fame career.
“It’s tough, but I’m proud to play with these guys,” Roethlisberger said of the 2021 Steelers, who had to win their last two games just to make the playoffs as the seventh seed. “God has blessed me with the ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, in Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players. It has just truly been a blessing. I’m so thankful to him for giving me this opportunity.”
Roethlisberger said that he was meant to play for the Steelers after 10 other teams — most notably the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns — passed on him in the 2004 NFL Draft. He fought back emotion while mentioning late Steelers president/owner Dan Rooney, who made sure the Steelers didn’t pass on Roethlisberger when he was available in the ’04 draft.
“I’m just so thankful. I hope that I’ve been able to pass the legacy of what it is to be a Steeler. From Dan Rooney. We all miss him. Anyone that knew him misses him. Hopefully I can pass some of that on to some of the guys and the tradition of what it means to be a Steeler can be passed down. … We’ve got some guys in there that will continue to do that. Gave Cam [Heyward] a big hug and told him it’s on him now. It’s his job to pass it down and to keep teaching and holding guys to the Pittsburgh standard.”
Roethlisberger’s impending retirement comes as no surprise. Reports surfaced prior to…