Ben Roethlisberger was in just his second season in the NFL when he helped author a storybook ending for one of his most veteran teammates, Jerome Bettis. Having had a reduced role at that point in his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers behind Willie Parker, Bettis got the chance to go out a champion in 2005 in his hometown.
Roethlisberger was asked about having a similar storybook ending to that of John Elway if he were to win a Super Bowl when he appeared on SiriusXM yesterday, but he didn’t appear very interested in that…at least from the sense of calling it a day simply for the fact of winning.
“Obviously I want to win a Super Bowl. It’s crazy to think it’s been 10 years”, he said. “It makes you appreciate how hard it is to actually do it. It makes you appreciate what [Tom] Brady’s done. I mean, it’s just crazy. The goal is to bring another Lombardi back here to this city. That’s kind of what I always thought, ‘you win one, he’s going to walk out’”.
“Obviously that’s the way you want to go”, he added, “but if you still feel like you’ve got something left in the tank, you can’t give it up too early”.
Roethlisberger signed a two-year contract extension earlier this offseason, making him, by per-year average, the second-highest-paid player in NFL history behind only Russell Wilson, who signed an extension only a short time before he did.
Prior to the Steelers working out that extension, it was reported that the team did their due diligence with Roethlisberger, with Art Rooney II seeking the quarterback’s assurance that he would be committed for that length of time.
“My goal is to play these three years and give it everything I have”, the quarterback said, saying that only something unforeseen like an injury would “prevent me from honoring my contract. And even then I would do everything I could to keep doing it. As long as I feel like I can perform at a high level and I’m not hurting my team, and then I want to be out there and give it everything I have trying to win”.
This might be the most open-ended Roethlisberger has ever been in terms of speaking about his future. While other quarterbacks in their 30s have very clearly discussed a desire to play well into their 40s, he has never really done that before.
Here, at least, he strongly hints at that being a possibility. He could find himself seven years from now still on the field if he still has both the passion and ability, not to mention the relative health, that he currently has.
Where will we be four years from now when Roethlisberger’s current contract has run its course? Will he still be here? Under what kind of deal?