There have been rumblings that Monday night's home game in week 17 against the Cleveland Browns could be Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's final game at Heinz Feld.
Well, Roethlisberger admitted as much on Thursday:
BREAKING; Ben Roethlisberger said today that Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns is likely his final game at Heinz Field, his first public indication he will retire after the season.
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) December 30, 2021
Ben Roethlisberger won’t speak in definites, but he says “all signs” are pointing that “this could be it” his last game — at least regular season — at Heinz Field. pic.twitter.com/9jlhR99Kty
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) December 30, 2021
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The Steelers finish up the 2021 regular season on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh is currently out of the playoff picture and would likely be on the road all playoffs if that changes.
So, it's sure looking like this is it for Roethlisberger at Heinz Field, which is the only place in his NFL career he has called home.
It has been trending this way all season. While the Steelers are still in the playoff hunt at 7-7-1, with Big Ben occasionally making magic with his arm, he has clearly been laboring. He has dealt with a number of health issues in recent years and is now 39 years old. There's just not much left in the tank.
In 2021, Roethlisberger has thrown for 3,373 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has been sacked 35 times and fumbled 10 times, losing five of them. While he's still a serviceable quarterback, his limitations have been on display and he likely doesn't want to take the physical beating anymore.
If this truly is it for Roethlisberger (he acknowledged he probably won't come back once he retires), it has been quite a ride. The Steelers drafted him 11th overall back in 2004, and he has been in Pittsburgh his entire career. He has two Super Bowls to his name and has made six Pro Bowls in his career.