Even though Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is not ready to say that 2021 will be his final NFL season, the odds certainly seem like that will be the case. Even former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, who is now an analyst with CBS Sports, believes 2021 will be Roethlisberger’s final NFL season when asked to give his thoughts on that topic during his recent interview on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ show
“It probably will be,” Cowher said. “I would think so. And I think he lives by that. He is taking it one year at a time and I certainly would think this would be. You know, he wanted to come back. It didn’t end the way he wanted it to [last season]. I think he missed it two years ago, a whole season, and I think he realized at that time how much football meant to him. I think he’s applied himself a little bit differently and looked at things differently; not taking anything for granted.”
Cowher’s comments come on the heels of Roethlisberger saying last week that he’s not looking past the 2021 season as far as his NFL future goes.
“I’m gonna approach this like I do every season, like it’s my last,” Roethlisberger told the media last Tuesday. “I mean, you don’t approach it that way because it could be your last, but you approach it because every single play in the game of football could be your last. Every game could be your last game. That just means I’m going out to give it everything I have.”
Despite attempts to get Roethlisberger to admit he might would be open to playing past the 2021 season, the veteran quarterback refused to take the bait.
“I’ve never looked towards the future,” Roethlisberger said on Tuesday. “I’ve always looked towards the right here and now. That’s what is important for me for this season is giving everything I have right here and right now for this group of guys.”
As things stand right now, Roethlisberger’s contract is set to void five days after this season’s Super Bowl in February. Obviously that language and voidable years can be renegotiated before that date should both sides come to some sort of an agreement that the quarterback will return in 2022. The only way that would likely happen, however, would be if Roethlisberger plays really well in 2021 and leads the team on a deep playoff run.
“Yeah, I do believe this will be his last year and I think what they’ve tried to do is bring everybody else back,” Cowher said. “They’ve brought JuJu [Smith-Schuster] back. They tried to re-sign a lot of their players. So, I think this will be his swan song right here.”