Though it’s unlikely to surprise many people, Ben Roethlisberger reportedly believes 2021 will be his final season in the NFL. That’s according to this tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who says Roethlisberger has told some former teammates and people inside the Steelers’ organization that he will retire when this season concludes.
That writing has seemingly been on the wall since Roethlisberger restructured his contract in order to play this season, including taking a $5 million paycut as part of that contract reworking. Roethlisberger, 39, has been the Steelers’ starting QB since 2004, an injury replacement early in the season and never looking back, winning two Super Bowls and going to a third.
According to Schefter, Roethlisberger won’t make a public proclamation about his retirement at any point during the regular season.
“Roethlisberger has not made any such public proclamations, and likely won’t, as he doesn’t want the latter part of the season to be about him as Pittsburgh prepares to make a playoff push.
But he and those within the organization are now operating as if he is entering the final five games of his Hall-of-Fame career, with two of them fittingly coming against the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh’s opponent Sunday and in the final regular-season game as well.”
His report also indicates it is “highly unlikely Roethlisberger plays for another NFL team. Five years of his retirement, Roethlisberger should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Roethlisberger has publicly said little about his post 2021 plans, telling reporters who have asked that he’s only focused on this season. In 2021, he’s thrown for over 2500 yards and 14 touchdowns in ten starts. It’s clear some games this season have meant a great deal to him, most notably Pittsburgh’s road victory against the Cleveland Browns earlier this season.
The Steelers’ mission will be finding his replacement beginning this offseason, likely looking out-of-house for a 2022 starter though the team will have Mason Rudolph under contract and team control over Dwayne Haskins.