You may have missed it, but Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was low-key inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday evening.
I should probably clarify that introductory sentence by mentioning that the Hall of Fame into which he was inducted was the Hancock Sports Hall of Fame, which held its annual Induction Banquet in Findlay, Ohio last night at 6 PM. Roethlisberger’s sister, Carlee, was also inducted in the same class.
You might recall that the quarterback listed his hometown for years as Findlay. That is where he attended high school. In recent years, following his public issues, and some evident bad blood, he began to list his hometown as Cory-Rawson, which is actually a district made up of the villages of Mount Cory and Rawson.
This was part of the subject of an article back in January on the eve of the playoffs, during which a Sports Illustrated writer seemed to wonder why Roethlisberger hadn’t done anything morally ambiguous since that time. The tag line was that his “growth as a player is easy to see, but “his growth as a person is hardly as clear”.
The author even talked about his pending induction into the Hancock Hall of Fame, which would require him to come back to Findlay. Which he did. He also donated nearly $100,000 to local police departments, including Findlay’s, in February.
Turns out, there was no issue, amazingly enough, and everything was normal.
But he did sit down and talk to Dan Hanneman for The Courier in Findlay about his past, as well as his future. He opened up, talking about how he matured following the Milledgeville incident, citing a meeting with his pastor as a turning point.
“A lot of it is maturity. As you get older you understand things, you understand life, you understand what’s important. It’s about putting things into perspective”. Roethlisberger said that early on football became not just what he did, but who he was, and that made it difficult to maintain perspective “when that’s the only thing you have”.
He has since gotten married and had three children. “Football is still what I do”, he said, “but it’s not who I am”. Contrasting his life in the past half-decade to before, “at the end of the day, I come home to an amazing family, I have a great relationship with the Lord and those are the things that matter most to me”.
Roethlisberger did say that “Pittsburgh is home now because my wife, my kids, my family are there”, but he added of Findlay, “I was raised here, and I’m excited to be coming back, excited to be seeing people I haven’t seen in a while”.
“I appreciate all those people who supported me and embraced me as a Findlay kid”, he went on. “That means a lot to me, and I’m grateful for that, more than they probably will ever know”.
As for the future, Roethlisberger did reiterate what he has said in the past. “I don’t want to play myself into the ground”, he said. “I don’t want to be that guy who, 10 years from now, can’t get out there and throw the ball with my kids”.
He did say that he will look back as some point and shake his head, “but I don’t want to do that yet because when I do that, it will mean I’m done playing, and I feel I still have some more stories left to write”.