The rumors of the 2021 season being Ben Roethlisberger’s last season in Pittsburgh isn’t dying down anytime soon.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC. However, a recent disheartening loss to the Minnesota Vikings dropped Pittsburgh to a record of 6-6-1. At the current moment, the Steelers are trailing four teams for the last Wild Card spot in the playoff race.
With four regular season games left, this could realistically be Roethlisberger’s last stretch of games in Pittsburgh. However, the idea of Roethlisberger playing out of Pittsburgh to prolong his career appears more and more unlikely. The 39-year-old quarterback recently gave some revealing remarks to reporters when discussing how he saw Joe Montana end his career with the Kansas City Chiefs — rather than the San Francisco 49ers.
“I grew up with that [Joe] Montana, [Dan] Marino, [John] Elway, [Jim] Kelly,” Roethlisberger told reporters on December 15. “I think the hardest thing was watching Joe go to the Chiefs from the 49ers. That was tough.”
For those not aware of Montana’s legacy, he was the G.O.A.T. before Tom Brady came into the picture. The legendary Niner won four Super Bowls with San Francisco before playing out the last two years of his career with the Chiefs.
Roethlisberger’s Comments Lead to Speculation
Roethlisberger’s recent comments led to a couple of Steelers reporters questioning whether or not he would play somewhere else.
“Roethlisberger said he paid attention to the way the QBs of the 80s and 90s went out: ‘One of the hardest things was watching (Montana) go to the Chiefs from the 9ers.’ — The people thinking 7 will go somewhere else to play next season are off base with that thinking,” said Lolley.
Will Graves of The Associated Press predicts that Roethlisberger won’t be one of the legendary quarterback who plays for multiple teams.
“Note here: Ben is 6th on the all-time yards passing list (he’ll move into 5th on Sunday),” says Graves. “Of the 5 players ahead of him, all of them– Brady, Brees, Manning, Favre and Rivers — played for multiple teams. Not Roethlisberger. And I would wager he’s well aware of this.”
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Roethlisberger Expects to Retire: Report
A recent report indicated that Roethlisberger is expecting to retire following the 2021 season.
“Ben Roethlisberger privately has told former teammates and some within the organization that he expects this to be his final season playing quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, league sources told ESPN on Saturday” said Schefter.
“Roethlisberger has not made any such public proclamations, and likely won’t, since he doesn’t want the latter part of the season to be about him as Pittsburgh tries to make a playoff push.
But sources say he and those within the organization are now operating as if he is entering the final five games of his Hall of Fame career, with two of them fittingly coming against the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh’s opponent Sunday and in the final regular-season game,” Schefter continued.
When asked about the topic, the veteran quarterback has always been dismissive of the subject. Instead, Roethlisberger has always maintained his focus is on this season — not what happens after the season.
Via Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
“I’m living right here, right now,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday, December 15. “We’ve got to make a run. We’ve got to play good football. We’ve got to play great football. That starts right here with me. I can’t get caught looking at the end because I need to focus on right here, this week.”
Regardless of Big Ben’s future in Pittsburgh, it sounds like he certainly won’t be playing on another NFL team before his career is over.