Ben Roethlisberger is making no secret about it — he has no plans of retiring.
The 37-year-old quarterback took directly to Twitter to refute a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Monday that he was thinking seriously about retirement this offseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller — who has been out since Week 2 with an elbow injury — said he’s working harder than ever before on making a comeback for next season.
As Rob Goldberg of Bleacher Report notes, Mortensen reported that the 16-year veteran had doubt as to if he would return for the 2020 season.
“I’ve talked to people who have spoken with him, and he has some doubt whether he’s really gonna play football again,” ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said on SportsCenter Monday.
As Goldberg states, Mortensen even reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers would have interest in other veteran quarterbacks in the wake of a possible Roethlisberger retirement — including the likes of fellow 2004 NFL draftees Philip Rivers and Eli Manning and veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
“According to Mortensen, the Steelers could sign a veteran free agent like Philip Rivers, Eli Manning or Teddy Bridgewater this offseason if Roethlisberger is unable to return.”
Previous Reports Indicated Roethlisberger Would Return in 2020
Previously, there had been no indication that Roethlisberger planned on retiring. When the two-time Super Bowl champion initially suffered his injury back in September, all indications were that he planned on returning for the 2020 season.
Head coach Mike Tomlin even stated as such back in September — that no one is concerned that next year will be a problem.
“He fully intends to come back from his injury, and everything we’ve heard, we’re comfortable that’s a strong possibility,” head coach Mike Tomlin said in September, per ESPN’s Steelers beat writer Jeremy Fowler, while Mortensen and Fowler’s ESPN colleague Adam Schefter reported at the time that, “No one is concerned that next year is going to be a problem.”
The former No. 11 overall draft pick in the 2004 NFL Draft has served as the Steelers’ starting quarterback since his rookie season. Despite his advanced age, he led the league in passing last season and he holds numerous franchise records, including most touchdown passes and passing yards in a single season.
Without Roethlisberger, the Steelers have struggled on offense. They’ve been forced to start youngsters Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges throughout the season. After ranking sixth in the league in scoring in 2018, they’ve dropped all the way down to 25th.
After falling to the New York Jets 16-10 in Week 16, the Steelers will hope that they can beat the Baltimore Ravens while hoping for a Tennessee Titans loss to the Houston Texans in order to clinch a postseason berth.
Steelers Place Mason Rudolph on Injured Reserve
Speaking of the Steelers’ quarterback issues, the team has officially placed Rudolph on injured reserve.
Rudolph suffered the injury the team’s recent loss to the Jets, when he relieved Hodges.
Via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
“After suffering a shoulder injury against the New York Jets, quarterback Mason Rudolph has been placed on the injured/reserve list, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced Tuesday.
Rudolph appeared to suffer the injury with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter of Sunday’s 16-10 loss, when he took the snap under center and stumbled as he stepped back for the handoff. He tried to stand up and was drilled by Jets defenders, landing on his left shoulder. Rudolph entered the blue medical tent at the end of the drive and never returned to the game.”
The second-year quarterback served as the team’s starting quarterback for eight games before he was replaced by the undrafted Hodges in the starting lineup in Week 12.