Though the focus is entirely on this Sunday, whenever the Pittsburgh Steelers ends, the focus will all go in one direction. Squarely on Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger, who hinted at retirement last year, which sent the world into a tizzy, sounded a little more confident about returning for 2018.
Speaking to reporters today, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Roethlisberger said he doesn’t think” this will be his last game at Heinz Field, though he made no promises.
Ben Roethlisberger now whether this is last Heinz Field game: “I don’t think it is but I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m going to play this one and give it everything I have.”
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 10, 2018
Retirement, the will-he, won’t-he, speculation will run rampant throughout the season. But he has every reason to return. A championship caliber team that will be mostly intact, assuming Le’Veon Bell is retained, in 2018. The core pieces aren’t going anywhere. Antonio Brown is locked up. The offensive line will remain the same. And the defense has its superstars coming back with a secondary that will hopefully continue to rise.
Still, Big Ben is bound to be a bit coy about his future and he still leaves retirement as a possibility in the above tweet. He’s kept the short-term focus on the next game, something he’s repeated all year long anytime a brave reporter has asked him about his playing future.
What we know is that Roethlisberger is playing some of the best football of his career. Over the back half of the year, he’s been spectacular. He’ll face a tough challenge Sunday against Jacksonville, which boasts the best defense in the playoff race, but Big Ben is at the top of his game, getting Brown back, with a supporting cast peaking at the right time.