The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 on Monday Night Football, and that game could potentially be the last one that veteran quarterback ever plays at Heinz Field. Because of that being a possibility, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his weekly Tuesday press conference if he senses that Monday night will be Roethlisberger’s final game at Heinz Field, and if so, if that will have any impact on the week of preparations that lie ahead.
“You know, I don’t know that it’s going to impact anything relative to what we intend to do or what he intends to do,” Tomlin said of Roethlisberger. “Like I’ve mentioned several times when that subject is broached in these settings, Ben has really done a nice job of setting the pace regarding that throughout the season. He’s been singularly focused on the next challenge and where we are in terms of the here and now and so it’s been easy to follow his lead in that regard. And I’m sure we all will do the same as we press forward toward Monday Night Football.”
With Tomlin and Roethlisberger having such a long history together with the Steelers, which specifically dates back to 2007, the head coach was asked on Tuesday to sum up what the veteran quarterback has been able to do at Heinz Field from the beginning of his career up until this point.
“To be honest with you, we don’t have enough time,” Tomlin said. “I mean, I’ve experienced 15 years of Hall of Fame-caliber play as it pertains to Ben. My focus and his focus this week is this game and preparing for this game and performing well in this game. I’m sure there’ll be an appropriate time in the future where I’ll get an opportunity to sing his praises and I will gladly do so. It just doesn’t feel like the appropriate time as we zero in on this opportunity that is Monday Night Football this week.”
If indeed Monday night winds up being Roethlisberger’s final game at Heinz Field, at least it will be against a team he knows well, and one that he has thrived against in the Browns. For his career, Roethlisberger is 25-3-1 against the Browns all-time and 12-1 at home against them as a starter. Including the playoffs, Roethlisberger has thrown for 7,274 yards and 46 touchdowns against the Browns during his career, with 26 interceptions.
The last time that Roethlisberger faced the Browns at Heinz Field was in last season’s AFC Wild Card game. While the Steelers lost that game, Roethlisberger did throw for 501 yards.
Roethlisberger will likely hold his weekly press conference on either Wednesday or Thursday. When he does meet the media, expect him to be asked several questions about Monday night potentially being the final home game of his long NFL career, and the dominance he’s had over the Browns dating back to his 2004 rookie season.