A bunch of alumni came out to Heinz Field on Monday night to watch Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s last game there. There will be more on hand on Sunday when he played his last regular-season game, and perhaps last game overall, against the Baltimore Ravens.
That would be Terrell Suggs, the man who has sacked him—by far—more than anybody else. The former Baltimore great and perhaps future Hall of Famer sacked Roethlisberger 18 times during their days facing one another, including five in the postseason. The only other one who was even in the same stratosphere was Elvis Dumervil, who sacked Big Ben 11 times, most of them as a Raven.
Suggs will be on hand as the Ravens’ ‘Legend of the Game’, and it will be his first appearance with the team since he last played for them, before he finished up his career with the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.
And he will be there to see Roethlisberger out—maybe to make sure that he’s really retiring. The two have a lot of mutual respect for one another, and even exchanged jerseys following Suggs’ final game with the Ravens in 2018, at which point he was considering retiring before making the decision to play one more year.
Roethlisberger was very aware about who would be in the stadium when he spoke to members of the media on Wednesday. When asked if he would go around the stadium high-fiving fans in Baltimore the way he did at Heinz Field, he said, “not unless Suggs wants to go with me”.
When asked if they got along together, he said that they did. “We were friendly when we needed to be friendly, but I think more than anything there’s a lot of respect between the two of us”.
Perhaps the most famous play between the two was actually an incomplete pass. Suggs had Roethlisberger dead to rights for a sack square in the middle of the pocket. The quarterback somehow fought him off just enough to get out of the tackle box and throw the ball away before being brought down to the ground.
It’s fitting that just earlier this season Roethlisberger became the most-sacked player in NFL regular-season history, currently having taken 553 sacks in the regular season, and another 51 in the postseason. Tom Brady, unsurprisingly, has a few more when you factor in the postseason.
In case you were wondering, Myles Garrett tied for eighth on the list of sackers of Roethlisberger. Geno Atkins is third with eight, then Robert Geathers (7), Michael Johnson (7), Haloti Ngata (6.5), and Dwight Freeney (6.5). Surprisingly, Carlos Dunlap only sacked him 3.5 times.