Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is soon to be 39 years old in a couple of months. He is coming off of a brutal postseason loss in which he threw for over 500 yards and four touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions, and you can guess which of those tallies proved to be the most significant result in last night’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
Roethlisberger is also a guy who has been open in the past about the fact that he has considered retirement, loosely, on a year-to-year basis for a number of years now, though he has also said that he intends to honor his contract, which runs through the 2021 season. But plans can change.
And you won’t get answers from him tonight after a gut-punch loss like this.
“This loss is fresh, and it’s just sitting on our hearts and our minds right now, and it will for a while”, he told reporters last night after the game when asked about if he discussed his future plans with longtime center and friend Maurkice Pouncey as they sat on the bench long after the clock ran down.
“It’s going to start between me and God, a lot of praying”, Roethlisberger added when asked about how the process of making a decision for the 2021 season will play out. “A lot of talking with my family, discussions, decisions. I still have a year left on my contract. I hope the Steelers want me back, if that’s the way we go. There’ll be a lot of discussions, but now is not the time for that”.
In other words, we don’t know right now what Roethlisberger is going to do because Roethlisberger doesn’t know what he is going to do right now. But that is understandable given the circumstances, facing the media just minutes after suffering a brutal loss in which you know that you played a key part in your own team’s failure.
The Steelers owe Roethlisberger $19 million for the 2021 season between his base salary and roster bonus ($4 million and $15 million, respectively). The roster bonus becomes due in the early portions of the new league year, but I would imagine that we will know long before then what the quarterback decides.
In his first season back after major surgery on his throwing elbow, he completed 399 of 608 pass attempts for 3803 yards with 33 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, overall very solid numbers outside of the rather anemic yards per attempt.
He clearly still has some life left in him, yet at the same time it’s also apparent that something needs to change in the offense, including in the way that Roethlisberger attacks the field, in order to get over the hurdle that the offense has been tripping over. Will he be on the field as they attempt to do just that? We’ll have to wait and see.