It came as a great shock to almost nobody yesterday when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger formally announced that he would remain for at least one more season. After a couple of months of seemingly flirting with the notion of retirement, he vowed to give his “absolute best” to the team this year.
And there is no reason to doubt that, in spite of the fact that there will inevitably be more than a few who will do just that. Though he is certainly not free of blame in the way he is received by the public, there is a certain prevailing light that casts Roethlisberger as attention-seeking, and even at times uncommitted.
On the contrary, I believe the veteran quarterback’s journey this offseason should serve as a testament to his commitment to doing everything in his power to bring the Steelers a seventh championship this year. He has already gone through the work of contemplating not playing this year, and that is a path that includes the fortitude of the commitment necessary to continue to play at a high level.
One of the biggest reasons that players often cite when it comes to reaching the decision to walk away from the game is the fact that they no longer feel as though they have the dedication to put themselves through the ringer that is the NFL season, from the spring workouts all the way through to the Super Bowl, in one should be so lucky, as well as all the lines of effort that connect the dots along the way.
Roethlisberger will have inevitably considered these factors in weighing his future and has come to the conclusion that he still has it in him to continue to give everything in an effort to join the small fraternity of quarterbacks with more than two Super Bowl rings.
I can already begin to anticipate the articles touting Roethlisberger showing up ‘in the best shape of his career’, in seeming contrast to the year before, which has become something of an annual tradition as his work ethic continues to be scrutinized by some at a heightened level.
There is no doubt that there will come a time in the near future, perhaps within the next couple of years, that he decides to walk away from the game, when he determines that he no longer has it in him to give what it takes to perform at the top of his profession for another entire season, but that time is not now, not for the 2017 season.
The reality is that this is probably a journey that Roethlisberger has taken over the course of the past couple of offseasons, as his head coach, Mike Tomlin, has indicated on multiple occasions. This is just the first one that we have been an audience to.