Ben Roethlisberger Addresses Possible Retirement Ahead Of Final Home Game
By Jason Hall
December 30, 2021
The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their final home game of the 2021 season next Monday (January 3), which could be quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's last at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger, 39, is in the final year of his contract -- which was reworked last offseason -- and many believe the two-time Super Bowl champion will retire after the Steelers' season ends.
On Thursday (December 30), the 18-year veteran addressed reporters and seemed to give the clearest indication of his plan.
"I don't ever speak in definites or guarantees," Roethlisberger said via Steelers.com. "That's just not what I've ever done or who I am. But, looking at the bigger picture, I would say that all signs are pointing to this could be it. Regular season that is. I know we still have a chance to potentially get a playoff game there if things fall our way and we take care of business and things have to happen.
"But in the grand scheme of things, in terms of regular season, signs are pointing that way this could be it."
Roethlisberger has 91 career wins at Heinz Field, which is the third most by a quarterback in one stadium in NFL history, and said he's focused solely on extending that number.
"I don't speak in guarantees or definites," Roethlisberger said. "I'll address the definite answer at some point down the road, but like I said, my focus is winning this game. If it is indeed my last regular season game there, it's going to be one of the most important games of my career. I've been so blessed to play in front of the best fans in all of sports, the best venue. What better way to have a last regular season potential game than on Monday Night Football against a division opponent.
"It's just special. I got a lot of focus on still for this year and this game and that's got to be it right now."
Earlier this month, Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward said he'd spoken to Roethlisberger about the veteran's upcoming offseason plans, but is choosing to keep their conversation private amid reports that Roethlisberger was mulling retirement.
“Said a little bit, but that’s between me and him. I’m just happy the way he played tonight. To pick up a critical W for us, our QB came through,” Heyward told reporters via USA TODAY.
On December 4, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Roethlisberger told former teammates and some within the organization that he expects the 2021 season to be his last with the franchise, according to sources.
Roethlisberger hadn't previously addressed his future publicly and reportedly didn't want to make the focus of the Steelers' final games about himself, rather the team's attempt to make a playoff push, but sources told Schefter that the 39-year-old was operating as if he's in the final few games of his career.
Roethlisberger's current contract contract is set to expire this offseason, one year after the quarterback agreed to a restructured deal in order to allow the Steelers to free up cap space ahead of free agency.
The 18-year veteran is the only active quarterback remaining from the first-round of the 2004 NFL Draft, having watched draft classmates Eli Manning and Philip Rivers end their respective careers in each of the last two offseasons.
Roethlisberger has told many that he wouldn't consider playing for a franchise -- having spent his entire career with the Steelers -- and a source told Schefter it's "highly unlikely" that he'd end up on another team next season.
The two-time Super Bowl champion is the Steelers' franchise leader in career passing yards (63,721), touchdowns (416) and wins by a starting quarterback (162).