It was a move many anticipated, but it’s now official. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced on Thursday that he’s retiring at the age of 39. The No. 11 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Miami University won two Super Bowls in Pittsburgh and was a six-time Pro Bowler.
“Big Ben” played in 249 regular-season games, 23 postseason games and three Super Bowls. He retires while sitting at No. 5 on the all-time passing list with 64,088 yards — one spot behind Brett Favre and right above Philip Rivers. The 2004 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year made his mark on the Steelers immediately, as he led Pittsburgh to the most wins ever recorded by a rookie with 15. Later, he became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to win 100 games in the first 150 starts of his career. Roethlisberger also holds the NFL record for most career 500-yard passing games with four.
Roethlisberger announced his decision to retire on Twitter:
“I don’t know how to put into words what the game of football has meant to me, and what a blessing it has been,” Roethlisberger said in his farewell video. “But I know with confidence I have given my all to the game. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all it has given me.”
Roethlisberger got to end his 18-year career in the playoffs, as he finished the regular season with two straight wins to secure a playoff berth. While the Steelers were bounced by the Kansas City Chiefs, 42-21, Roethlisberger threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns.
In early December, reports surfaced that Roethlisberger had privately told teammates and those in the organization that he planned to walk away from football at the end of the season. He didn’t do much to address the reports, but his final home game against the Cleveland Browns had an emotional ending, as Roethlisberger remained on the field for some time with his family and took a final lap around Heinz…