Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed a legendary career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, having played at Heinz Field for his entire 18-year career. It's hard to imagine the Steelers without Big Ben under center, but that's the reality of the situation in Pittsburgh going forward. Well, it turns out, Roethlisberger almost left Pittsburgh far before 2022. According to Mike Singletary, via The Athletic, the 49ers were on the precipice of trading for Big Ben before Singletary, who was the team's head coach at the time, vetoed the deal.

Singletary revealed that 49ers owner John York, CEO Jed York, and former 49ers director of player personnel Trent Baalke (now the infamous Jaguars GM) called him in for a meeting to discuss the potential move for Roethlisberger. Singletary, however, was less interested in bringing Roethlisberger to town, especially considering the quarterback had just recently been accused of sexual assault. Singletary didn't reveal exactly when this meeting took place, though the context of his comments suggest it occurred sometime around 2009.

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Singletary mentioned that he had made a commitment to former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith. A move for Roethlisberger would've been a direct contradiction of the identity the 49ers were hoping to establish at the time, prompting Singletary to veto the potential trade. Despite Smith being deemed a significant disappointment at the time, the former Niners coach felt he would be able to help the former Utah product reach his potential.

Obviously, no Roethlisberger trade ever ended up materializing, as the recently-retired QB played his entire career in Pittsburgh, but it's wild to see just how close he was to joining San Francisco a bit over a decade ago.