2021 South Side Questions: Does Ben Roethlisberger Still Want To Play Beyond This Season?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Does Ben Roethlisberger still want to play if the Steelers would theoretically have him back in 2022?

For the first time this entire season, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger formally acknowledged that there’s a good chance he is indeed playing his final season with the team. This has been widely assumed and speculated since before the offseason even began, but it’s the first time such claims have come out of the man’s own mouth.

Roethlisberger hedged in his remarks and seemed to be cautious, saying that the ‘signs’ point to this likely being his last home game at Heinz Field. He didn’t say ‘this is the last game I’m ever going to play in Heinz Field (unless we win the division)’.

The question, thus, is this: Is he physically and mentally done, in his own mind, regardless of what outside parties—including the Steelers’ front office—think about his level of performance? If he would sign a one-year, $10 million contract for the 2022 season, would he sign up for that?

It’s almost surely a moot point, however, even if everybody involved since his contract restructure have paid lip service to the idea that he could play beyond this season. The organization has seemed to be invested in moving on past this year since the very beginning, and I’m sure even many of the most faithful fans of Roethlisberger understand the merits of that.

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