Ben Roethlisberger undecided on retirement, but hopes the Steelers want him back

Liz Roscher
·2-min read

Ben Roethlisberger is closer to retirement than he has ever been before, but he’s not ready to make that decision quite yet.

Following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 48-37 wild-card loss in the AFC playoffs to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night, Roethlisberger admitted that retirement is on the table. He has a lot of thinking and talking to do before he reaches a decision, but he hopes that he and the Steelers are on the same page.

"It's going to start between me and God, a lot of praying. A lot of talking with my family, discussions, decisions. I still have a year left on my contract," Roethlisberger said via ESPN. "I hope the Steelers want me back, if that's the way we go. There will be a lot of discussions. But now is not the time for that.

"This loss is fresh. It's just sitting on our hearts and our minds right now. It will for a while."

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) stands on the sideline after throwing an interception during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn't ready to make a decision about his future quite yet. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Roethlisberger had a tough game

Early mistakes doomed the Steelers, specifically Roethlisberger’s three interceptions in the first half. The Browns capitalized on every misstep, scoring touchdowns after each pick. The Steelers were in a 35-10 hole by halftime, and Roethlisberger was 20-for-30 with 177 passing yards.

Roethlisberger rebounded in the second half. His passes started landing in the hands of Steelers and not Browns players. He ended up throwing for 501 yards and completing 47 of 68 passes with four touchdowns, and helped make the game competitive. But it wasn’t enough to get the Steelers out of the hole that Roethlisberger essentially dug for them. Losing is a group effort, but no single person contributed more than Roethlisberger.

After all of that, it certainly looked like Roethlisberger was considering retirement. After the game ended, the camera caught him sitting alone on a sideline bench with tears in his eyes.

That image of Roethlisberger — emotional, disappointed, and dejected — may be the enduring snapshot of that game. The end of his career is so close that it’s practically getting a seat at the breakfast table every morning. Sunday night’s game probably wasn’t the ending he envisioned. That could very well play a part in his decision, whenever he’s ready to make it.

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