You all know by now that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger considered retiring during the offseason and according to one of his former offensive linemen, he really thought long and hard about doing just that.
“I got to sit down and talk to him and one thing he told me is he did take it seriously,” former Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon said Tuesday morning on PFT Live. “He’s dealt with a lot of injuries.”
Colon, who spent seven years in Pittsburgh blocking for Roethlisberger, indicated Tuesday that any future retirement decisions of his former teammate past the 2017 season might depend on the status of his offensive line.
“He’s passionate about playing, but one thing that keeps his fire going is that offensive line,” Colon said. “You have to worry about the health of Ben Roethlisberger. Can you keep him upright, can he stay healthy for the duration? They have the offensive line, they have the pieces around him to make it work.”
As of right now Roethlisberger has a solid unit in front of him and all but tackle Alejandro Villanueva are under contract through at least the 2018 season. While Villanueva has reportedly yet to sign his exclusive rights free agent tender that was issued him a few months ago, it’s probably only a matter of time until he signs an extension as well.
Center Maurkice Pouncey, who is currently under contract through the 2019 season, has indicated that he’s likely to retire whenever Roethlisberger does.
“I say all the time: The moment he walks away, I’m walking right behind him,” Pouncey said earlier in the offseason, according to S.L. Price of Sports illustrated. “You get so used to playing with that type, man, and I don’t know if I’m ready to walk into a huddle with another quarterback. I don’t think I’ll ever be.”
After formally announcing ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft that he would indeed play in 2017, Roethlisberger indicated in an interview with Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he will be looking at his future NFL career on a year-by-year basis moving forward.
“I’m never going to look past any year because I want to give everything I have to that year,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m not worried about next year. I have to win now. I think we can. I believe we have just about everybody back. I want to see what we look like as a team that’s a year better.”
The Steelers selected former Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs in the fourth-round of this year’s draft to see if they can develop him into more than just a backup. The team also signed backup quarterback Landry Jones to a two-year contract extension at the start of free agency.
If Roethlisberger’s future in Pittsburgh is indeed mostly tied to the status of his current offensive line, one has to think he’s fairly content right now. With that said, I would expect Roethlisberger will continue to keep Steelers fans in suspense every offseason moving forward until he ultimately decides to retire.