Team President Art Rooney II announced today he wants Ben Roethlisberger back as his starting QB in 2021. But at least one reporter doesn’t believe that’s guaranteed to happen. NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala warns Roethlisberger’s return isn’t yet set in stone. Here’s what she told 93.7 The Fan earlier today.
“So I probably shouldn’t say this but I was texting someone within the organization about this and he was like, ‘it’s not a done deal,”” she told the show. “And I was like, well, obviously not. They still need to [come to an agreement]. It’s funny too, because this is exactly what my husband said to me yesterday. He’s like, he’s definitely coming back, but like, they still have to figure it out…but a member of the organization actually texted me today. The exact same thing. Like it could all fall apart at the negotiating table. They could all make each other so angry. I just don’t see it happening. I don’t see. Is that possible? Sure. I don’t think it’s a likely scenario.”
Rooney’s statement did conclude by noting tackling Roethlisberger’s contract is the next step. There’s no doubt Pittsburgh will have to significantly reduce Roethlisberger’s cap charge in order for him to be on the roster. But all signs point to the team working something out. Roethlisberger wants to come back and now we know the Steelers want him back, too. Given that, it’s hard to see the two sides not being able to come together on some sort of agreement regardless of what those specific end up being.
Kinkhabwala’s note here seems to be stating the obvious. Nothing is *100%* done until pen and paper meet. The only thing that makes it notable here is a member of the organization saying that part out loud. But at this point, the denialism and fear-mongering surrounding Roethlisberger’s return in the fact of overwhelming evidence is just hysteria. Arguing keeping him for another season is the wrong move is a justified but separate point.
As we sit here today, now more than ever, there’s every reason to believe the Steelers will work out an extension with Big Ben. That doesn’t detract from questions about his future, the long-term outlook of the quarterback position, and the chances the Steelers have to make a serious run in 2021. But like it or not, Roethlisberger will be part of that conversation for at least one more season.