Ben Roethlisberger Makes Decision on His Steelers Future: Report

Ben Roethlisberger

Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in October 2021.

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger “expects this to be his final season,” according to a report by ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter. More specifically, Schefter indicates that Big Ben has communicated his decision to “former teammates and some within the organization.”

But Roethlisberger has not said anything publicly, and according to Schefter, is unlikely to make any public pronouncements, “as he doesn’t want the latter part of the season to be about him as Pittsburgh tries to make a playoff push.”

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Ben Roethlisberger Has Quarterbacked the Steelers For 18 Seasons

The news can hardly be characterized as a surprise, as the 39-year-old’s play has declined in recent seasons in the face of multiple injuries, including a season-ending elbow injury that caused him to miss all but two games of the 2019 season. This year, critics have characterized him as looking “extremely old,” and have argued that his play is “not gonna get better.” Some analysts have even suggested that he volunteer to step aside so that a younger QB can finish out the 2021 season.

Roethlisberger has been the team’s starting quarterback since Week 3 of the 2004 campaign, when he took over for an injured Tommy Maddox and won his first 13 NFL starts. Over the course of 18 seasons, he has posted a record of 161-79-1 (per Pro Football Reference) and has won two Super Bowl titles, taking his team to a third Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2010 season. He has been named to the Pro Bowl six times, including four consecutive years between 2014-17.

Roethlisberger was Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, selected No. 11 overall out of Miami of Ohio. He was part of a draft class that included fellow first-round quarterbacks Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, both of whom have already retired.

Might Ben Roethlisberger Play Elsewhere in 2022?

In the past, Roethlisberger has said he doesn’t ever want to play for another team, but with his contract expiring at the end of this season he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March 2022, the same month he turns 40 years old.

“It doesn’t mean he couldn’t surface next season in another NFL city, but that is ‘highly unlikely,’” according to one of Schefter’s sources.

If this is indeed the end, Roethlisberger would play his final regular-season home game against the Cleveland Browns on Monday January 3, 2022. His final regular-season game would come six days later, against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. At the moment, the Steelers are 5-5-1 and outside of the AFC playoff picture.

The Steelers Have Only One QB Under Contract in 2022

In terms of who might become Pittsburgh’s next starting quarterback, the leading contender is current backup Mason Rudolph, who signed a one-year contract extension in June of this year, a move Rudolph characterized as a “vote of confidence.” The club’s current third-stringer is Dwayne Haskins, a former first-round pick who will be a restricted free agent at the end of this year.

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