It may be old news by now that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has committed fully to playing the 2017 season—and has not committed to anything beyond that—but yesterday was the opening of OTAs and the first real chance for reporters to speak to him, so it’s no surprise that it was a notable topic of conversation.
He was asked, for example, why he chose to return for this season. He offered the short version, at first: “the love of this sport, and this team, and this city”, he said, a bit of an obvious answer, and the exact sort of answer that you would want to hear.
“I’m happy to be back here. I’m happy to be back with the team”, he said at another point in the interview. “I love this city, I love these guys, I love being out here. Football is a passion of mine. It’s what I do. It’s what I love to do”.
But he stood his ground why he wasn’t willing to commit to playing beyond 2017 in 2017. “I never commit to anybody more than one year”, he said, surely forgetting to mention that his wife is excluded in the aforementioned “anybody” category. He did have an explanation for why that is, especially in football.
“I think that’s all we should always commit to this sport because if you look past this year, then we’re cheating ourselves and we’re cheating other people”, he said, seemingly getting into a bit of a philosophical conversation here.
“We need to give this year everything that we can and everything that we have, because ultimately that’s all we have is right year and right now”, he elaborated. The thinking is, perhaps, that if you look toward next season while you are still in this season, you may be less inclined to give it your all with the assumption that ‘there’s always next year’, so to speak.
Right now, his next year is this year, though, and to this year he has already agreed to devote everything that he has. “I’m here on day one”, he told one reporter. “You see me out there taking every rep I’m supposed to take and then some. I actually took some of the rookie’s today. I’m 110 percent committed like I said I was”.
The game is a sort of comfort to Roethlisberger, who has spent so much of his life playing football that it is a joy to return to every year. “It’s good to get back out here”, he said, all the while acknowledging how early in the process it is for this season.
“You get a little frustrated at times because you want to be in midseason form, but you’ve got to remember it’s just day one”, he said. Day one of the questions as well, however long those about his future will persist. And in that regard, he was already in midseason form.