Ben Roethlisberger retired last season after spending his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Selected 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to three Super Bowls and two Super Bowl wins. Over the course of his seventeen years, Roethlisberger threw for over 64,000 yards and 418 touchdowns. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler and holds the record for the most 500-yard passing games at four.
But was there some animosity between Roethlisberger and the Steelers toward the end? A recent article by Mike Florio, NFL analyst and host of Pro Football Talk, speculated that the Steelers and their long-time quarterback may have had a rough final year.
"Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was asked this question during a Wednesday chat: 'Is there bad blood between the Steelers and Big Ben with how his career ended. Was he ready to retire or was it a Troy [Polamalu] type situation where he was forced into it?'
"Said Dulac: 'I would say it’s very very safe to assume that.'”
"That’s a strong statement. And it’s surprising. Some think that, a year ago, the Steelers were ready to move on. Some believe that the team specifically crafted an offer on a reduced deal with the goal of it being high enough to avoid insulting him but low enough to keep him from taking it."
Florio continued by saying,
"Then, he accepted what was a $5 million reduction in what he was due to make. It was clear last year that Roethlisberger wasn’t the guy he once was. Mobility had allowed him to extend plays throughout his career. That mobility was virtually non-existent during the final season of his career."
Ben Rothlisberger could have continued his career, but retiring as a Steeler was far more improtant
While it is true that Roethlisberger had lost a step over the last few years, it was clear the Steelers were ready to move on, even if Big Ben wasn’t quite ready to retire. Ultimately, sometimes, it’s not up to the player. Some starting quarterbacks fall back on up positions, just to stay in the game. Roethlisberger, however, isn’t that type of guy.
In today’s NFL, it’s rare to see a player retire from the team he was drafted to. That kind of loyalty is hard to come by, and taking a pay cut for one last season shows just how much Roethlisberger loved the game and wanted to retire as a Steeler.
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